What Oxygen Gives

I will always remember
you—newly retired—with
my firstborn son cradled
soft to your chest; those tiny
legs drawn up until he was
no more than a handful. What
a trio we were: the retired man,
lactating mother, and small
one of adulation. Everyday
we journeyed to the farm
and your embrace because

it gave me great joy to watch
the two of you sleep on
the couch. Funny how memories,
like rust, grow dull with time
and oxygen…until the doctor
uses words like: “mass” and
“malignant” and “tests”. The
surgery went well, though it
it was no picnic. It was the
waiting on tests that nearly did me
in. And when your son texted

me today: “All pathology is
negative…no cancer in the
lymph nodes”, I wept like a
child. Tonight, we all stood
out under the stars and thanked
God for you. I reached for the
hand of that man-child you
used to hold in one hand and
marveled at how beautiful
it is to breathe and be alive and
receive what oxygen gives.

for the tweatspeak poetry prompt and
photoplay at The High Calling. and in
celebration and giddy joy for good news.


  1. says

    Thanking God with you. I know that ‘holding your breath’ place where you can feel the pounding of your heart inside your chest, while all the world keeps moving along right past yours. What sweet relief to open the gift of more time. Precious blessings from our good God.

  2. says

    It seems as if we hold our breath until some sort of news reaches us; good or bad. Then to give a great sigh of relief to know that we have been given time to breath deeply once again. God bless all the boys young and old and all the girls too!

  3. says

    Glad to catch up on the outcome of the prayer request. (I’ve been out of the loop, tending to new baby and lactating mother here – loved how it all connected for me, your description of that earlier time.) Enjoyed this poem, Laura. Followed the link from the TS Poetry FB page!

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