The Breath Between
My beloved sister and brother, wherever you may be, breathe.
The Breath Between
When all the world roars like so much blood rushing in your ears, and adrenaline clashes with police in city streets; when the red myopic eye shines upon you, and love makes no more sense than a ringing gong in a broken forest; when the computer’s insect chorus is an overwhelming chant, and a single black ant carries your whispered penance into the crown of the oak; when the answers you seek are written impossibly small on the mouse’s bones outside her burrow, and the fox’s tracks lead you to a dead end; when the crow’s keening call is a promise shattered, then, my beloved sister and brother, wherever you may be, breathe. Breathe again and find the breath between breaths. Do you hear that soft tapping? The robin's blue egg clutched in the peach blossoms is cracking open. Soon she will fledge, a red-breasted bolt cutting through winter’s iron rain to set this world to sing.
Matt Layne writes…
As some of you may know, on top of being a poet, I'm also a librarian and currently serving as the President of the Alabama Library Association. Ever since I was sworn into this volunteer position, book challenges have sprouted up across the state (and country) as fast as red mushrooms on a forest floor. It's been exhausting, enlightening, and frustrating dealing with a state government hell-bent on choosing which books are appropriate for its populace to read.
All that's to say, the reason I wrote The Breath Between was to remind myself that everything is temporary. So this piece is a lovesong to our peace which has been shattered and our peace which will be restored. A reminder that no matter how awful this current situation may seem, the pendulum will swing back and further in our favor and spring will come:
my beloved sister and brother,
wherever you may be, breathe.
Breathe again and find the breath
“The Breath Between” appears in Miracle Strip, released August 31, 2022. The music is “Long Range” by Ned Mudd.
Miracle Strip, a poetry collection by Matt Layne, is a unique hybrid of the written and spoken word. Each piece of the collection has an end-stop embellishment QR code which, when scanned, transforms the reader into a listener. Layne has recorded each poem, often with the accompaniment of musician and poet, Ned Mudd. The first line of the book invites the reader to “tell me your story, and I will tell you mine,” in the campfire tradition. In Miracle Strip, the reader and poet embark on an experiential journey of memories and the ghosts who haunt us.
Poet, librarian, raconteur; Matt Layne has been poking hornet's nests and looking under rocks for lizards and snakes since he was knee-high to a peanut peg. A founding member of the 1990s improvisational poetry collective, The Kevorkian Skull poets, Layne believes in the radical transformative power found in the intersection of poetry and art, and he wants you to write your truth and share it out loud. A multiple Hackney Award winning writer, he has also been recognized by the National Society of Arts and Letters and been featured in Peek Magazine, Birmingham Arts Journal, Steel Toe Review, B-Metro, and elsewhere. Look for him at your local library.
Ned Mudd resides in Alabama where he engages in interspecies communication, rock collecting, and frequent cloud watching. He is the author of The Adventures of Dink and DVD (a space age comedy). Some of Ned’s best friends are raccoons.
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