Like Beethoven’s motive
in Moonlight Sonata,
asphyxiation is a common theme
in my life.
I’ve suffered pneumonia twice,
an ailment no one should know how to spell
before 8th grade, hospitalized
I’ve fought bronchitis numerous times
after my scoliosis surgery
to correct the 90 degree curvature of my spine.
A concept no one should understand
before 4th grade, but I did, and do.
I looked like an upside-down “L” with a head,
although my mom says I resembled an “S.”
My lungs collapsed like two deflated balloons.
I traced the curtain track with my eyes
as nurses and doctors restored my respiration.
I almost suffocated in the dentist’s chair:
He stuffed cotton swabs between my cheeks
and teeth, to keep my tongue at bay, scouring for cavities
like a Nazi would for a well hidden Jew.
In doing so, my tongue slid down my throat,
and I fell asleep, mumbling,
like in my surgery,
I turned blue, but never returned for a follow-up.