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by Daniel Braum

I don’t sleep well. Breathstealer comes at night when the line between what is and what was is weakest.

At first she came to me as a shadowy black cat, waking me in the night, her jaguar weight on my belly, paws on my shoulders immobilizing me. I thought she was an ancient curse I picked up in the deep of the rainforest; a manifestation of a vengeful spirit brought home from a jungle-covered pyramid on one of my long journeys of “self-discovery”. Surely she was vengeance incarnate, here because of the sins of my youth, my arrogance and ignorance rivaling that of the conquistadors, a trail of emotional destruction left in the lives I touched. I often woke with breathstealer pinning me and I was filled of thoughts of my past transgressions, lovers’ quarrels risen to screaming matches, low-blow words gone devastatingly too far, the seething yet resigned look on my true love’s, my last love’s face as she left me on the side of road in middle of the night. I felt my air, my life, leaving along with all these things.

Later on I thought breathstealer was a blessing, some angelic incarnation here to reward me for all the pain I’ve felt. I often woke to find an ethereal woman, in diaphanous white, hovering near me, misty, gentle hands caressing me with a lover’s grace. Thoughts things long gone, the secret things the little moments I shared with ex-lovers and ex-friends filled me. In the last note my true-love, my last love wrote me she asked, where do all the good things go now, where do I put them? I ask breathstealer this now. She only kisses me and I feel my air, my life, leaving along with all these things.

My doctor told me I will die if I don’t do something. Not enough oxygen when I sleep. A condition called hyper-this and toxic-that. I only know sleep is troubled. Breathstealer comes to me now in a form I know well. I wake in the night to find something that looks just like me sitting next to me on the bed. It touches my forehead with the back of its hand and all the details, go till all that is left are congealed notions of moments, of all the days of all the years; a life boiled down to talking points and topic sentences. I know now breathstealer is not curse nor a blessing, and I was born dying, as was each moment that passes.

I sleep better now, still I know breathstealer comes at night, when the line between what is and what will be is shifting.


I haven't had those visions since I got a CPAP machine.

I like the repetition of visitations cycling through the night and following a path through his life.

Posted by: David | January 26, 2009 1:09 PM

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