Indiana Daily Student

'In my chest' a poem by Alicia Harmon

You lean back into me.  

And suddenly, I am conscious 

of just how I breathe,

just how my heart 

is beating in my chest,

and I hope you don’t notice it

against your back,

that I am trying to exhale 

in an even rhythm. 

Sometimes, when you are on my mind,

there is pressure in my chest,


and warm,

and it, I cannot let go.

So I grip it tight in my hand,

and maybe you feel my hand between us,

pressed against your spine,

holding it back

as we lean here 

into one another.

My tongue stumbles when time to say

what I am thinking.

To say it

means to stand naked while you observe. 

So I grip fast that chest feeling

because if I did not,


would be my room

to breathe?

How could I measure, so carefully, my in and outtakes of air?

I don’t know.

And I don’t know quite

how to lean back into you.

But if I do nothing else,

I have to get this off my chest.

I want to open my hand

and let you see underneath. 

It is yours.

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