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Published May 13, 2017
"Hold Your Breath" by Evelyn Deshane (Third Place & Top Canadian)
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Hold Your Breath

by Evelyn Deshane

My lungs have been covered
in concrete & blown until they're dry.
I'm heavy like rocks in pockets of poets
wandering too far without anything to dry
their clothing after submerging. I bet
Woolf held her breath. For a little bit, at least.
I have this image of her, with her sharp cheek
bones & sad eyes, staying awake, staying alive
to see what it was like on the bottom. I think
she wanted to know what sand felt like
between her toes. There has to be a few
moments of lucidity, where her mind
wanted to live to see what the last moments
would be. That's the point of blank spaces.
Holding your breath makes sense, like skipping
over cemetery tombstones & wondering about
wandering souls getting home, because black spaces
mean there is something before the end. A caesura in
your chest. Hold your breath, Plath. Sexton.
Don't let the gas in yet. You still want to feel the heat
of a summer vacation you were promised but never
got. The smell of cake batter on the side of the oven wall.
I should have cleaned this oven better, I shouldn't have
waited to go swimming here before I waded too far
before I couldn't go back. Hold your breath. Then
breathe it in. My lungs are heavy like the wind
full of the last words I never got to say,
my lungs are carbon monoxide in a garage.
Hold it. Hold it. Because blank spaces
have to end, but blank spaces make the poem happen
They make language. They make sense.
I wheel out of my car. I open a window. I see
the air, the sun, the warm light. I breathe instead
of holding on until I'm blue. I'll hold onto something else

Evelyn Deshane has appeared in Briarpatch Magazine, Hoax Zine, The
Rusty Toque, and Tesseracts 19: Superhero Universe. In 2016, Evelyn
won Plenitude Magazine's Mentorship Award for creative non-fiction.
Evelyn (pron. Eve-a-lyn) received an MA from Trent University and
currently studying for PhD at Waterloo University.

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Poetry Contest #12: Third Place
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Hold Your Breath

by Evelyn Deshane
(Waterloo, Ontario, Canada)
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Under 25 Poetry Contest #1 Results
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1. Reflections: The Vietnam Veterans'
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3. Hold Your Breath
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