The End of Breathing

The boy set out to find the end of breathing. He found
temples in many cities, the body in wondrous poses. Two
oceans, layers of cloud. The sun told its tale each dawn.
The moon wavered in its bright shroud. He wore a necklace
of stars. Horses, raccoons, the black bear on the
mountain’s spine. Women touched his neck with hands
of bone. Always there was the lifting and falling of
his chest, always the solitude of breath. One man
gave him a Bible. Its pages turned and turned.
In summer there were gifts of grapes, tomatoes
the color of blood. The last winter he followed
the ice north to its source. Breath came like
knives, like birth. His body wrapped itself
in ice. His body became words.