Asthma: A Love Story

Your lips were blue she said

I lipped the plastic rim
of the peak flow with my teeth
on the indents            blasted

air from lungs
a chafed huff
that charcoal sound

followed by the quick puff-puff
inhaler’s strut  
perfumed my tongue

your lips were blue she said
I don’t remember        her lips
were   I don’t I don’t

some animal
              inside my chest
                        tries to whittle its way out 

she lipped a coffee straw
and went red
when her cheeks sunk
and puffed       she heard in Science
that it felt that way to breathe
with asthma     but it’s nowhere
near the lips     cheeks            veins
in your neck     I said    it comes
from some place deeper
the kettles in your chest

when my lips were blue I blew
little O’s
with the vapor sucked
from treatments           the tannic
meds dried my tongue

I can still taste it

but not like her lips when we breathed
into each other’s lungs
to feel                 all the air
force-fed and pressed
into chests

her humid mouth
on my unblued lips
and after           the little whistle
in my laugh

CODY WILSON teaches high school English in Peoria, Arizona. He has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte and is the poetry editor of Qu. His poems appear in Kentucky Review, Juked, and Juxtaprose.