Two poems by Irene Fick

The Air Inside


The Voice Lesson

Searching for air, I mine deep

into this cryptic cavern. The coach intones,

Breathe! Your air must wind

its way up

from the diaphragm, pass

through the chest cavity, the throat, then gush

from your mouth. Imagine

your air spinning out in circles.

But my air seems clotted,

held captive inside my core.


The Family

I held my breath to survive in strained

and tainted air, choked by the pall

of tobacco smoke everywhere. Later,

I waited for one more sigh, one more sign

of life as their lungs collapsed.

This is now an old refrain. It remains.


The Poem

Allow your poetry to breathe. Give it some air,

counsels the critic. I am afraid

my poetry has settled

into the clenched comfort

of crowded lines, lyrics that collide. I need

to find the air, let it breathe life

into the poem, then listen

as the words begin to sing.




A Narrative Poet Lost in the Lyric Moment


I enter the bolted doors of Memory Care, pass those who wander

through this uncharted, dreaded abyss.