Air

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care

When I was twice bereft and in despair,
Those I had fought for, worked for,
With little payment, resource, respect,
Support, against so many shades of war,
Domestic violence, detention, neglect,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care,

I worried I did not care any longer,
A victim of pandemic apathy,
I thought heart made of something stronger,
So lethargy is losing our own sovereignty,
Essence, soul, sanity, tempos unstable,
I worked long against the hunger of others
While we often struggled to fill our table
And spent winters frozen under covers,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care

My faith has lost its rhythms of days,
Social life replaced by social action life
Until my airways wheezed, limbs ached,
And pains in head and womb like knife,
But I gave still while they would take
And between two house moves, job loss,
Passing and illness of loved ones, I break,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care

When I was twice bereft and in despair,
No laughter, movement, speaking, sky
As asthma robbed my life of air
And I could not walk or dance or cry,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care,

Somewhere between the absence of care,
Respect, resources, time to inhale, support,
I started losing myself, I wonder why I bare
The battering when to them I count for nought,

They bullied me to look even when my vision blurred
And I allowed this and the migraines, pneumonia,
Pain, breathlessness, fumbling over the β€˜no’ word
Until I could have died myself, sight then made clear,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care,

And their heartlessness was egalitarian,
Open to all from any faith, creed, race,
In work I have become victim veteran,
Abused by negligence with smiling face,

I lost my breath, they did not care,
I could not breathe, they did not care.

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch