Three Poems

By David Brehmer


Immediately upon entering the world,
our lungs know to draw in the atmosphere
of our new home. Never a thought,
rarely a question, the body, recognizing
need and newfound space, expands
to fill the nest prepared ahead of time.

Through every lesson of mind and muscles
after, we collapse into our constant pillow
of breath to remember we are nowhere else
but here and in this moment tasting life
without the need to try, focus painting
the potential of anatomy.

Sternum and diaphragm under shoulders,
capped and re-directed out in two smooth
sweeps like dancing. Command grace
to tempo and work to marshal
what we can control in panic,
pushing rhythm to subsume.

Imagine instinct batted away,
the grasping rush of falling further than expected
into less than is required, never comfort,
only just enough to not strike concrete.
Neck and laterals lift tense to drag a thread
of air to coat the limp and straining lungs,

tearing heavy to pull yourself back
to a body certain of support, idling
in the background, ready to be anchor
in the eye of all the world can stack
upon your open frame.

Now imagine severing the cord
of another with your need and organs,
fiber by fiber removing their ability to hold
against the weight of time. They recognize
the absence and will never again fill the home
they have prepared.

Exhale and imagine their right to breathe is not assured
as yours. How easily do you next draw in your share?


72 mph for 45 miles straight,
following curves like breathing,
like I have pined for through nine years
of brake light mornings
and tail pipe afternoons cursing
the sheer amount of people traveling anywhere.
Now, finally able to measure distance
in minutes, I curse their absence,
curving towards blank inevitability
and home.

Status Report

Hope is a thing with feathers
and the clouds are dropping oil.
We’re in waders clutching paper towel
and soap.

The weather folks predict a steady rain
from here on out
and the ones in charge suggest
we burn our coats.

David Brehmer lives in Richmond, CA with his wife, son, and dog. He plays the drums and writes down what he thinks. (

(Photo by Nissa Brehmer)

THE NOVELTY OF THEFT: This was written after the death of my wife’s friend’s mother due to COVID. I did not know her at all. It is an attempt to inspire empathy and sympathy in all areas of life.

“ESSENTIAL” WORK:  Three weeks into California’s original shelter in place order, I was able to return to work because it was deemed essential. I drive 45 miles to write technical manuals for automated machines that test computer components. It is considered essential
 because some of those components are for telecommunications technology.

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