Between Breaths
James Valvis

Between Breaths

It’s that moment between
the exhaling of one breath
and the taking of the next.
That is a death we all know.
It happens every other second,
pause between this and that,
interlude between lives or loves.
How was I that young man
who swore till death parts us?
I died in the interim, I suppose,
my breath catching her in rooms
where she panted other names.
Later, on the beach, a wave crested,
sure at its summit, then crashed,
but what most frightened me
was not the fury of the surge
but the afterward sizzle of foam
spreading along the dark winter sand,
unsure the ocean could gather itself again
or a new wave would swell the sea.

James Valvis

is the author of a full-length poetry collection and two chapbooks. He has contributed to Ploughshares, River StyxArts and Letters, Barrow Street, The Sun, and other journals and has been included in Best American Poetry and Best of the Net. A former U.S. Army soldier, he lives in the Seattle area.