Breathing Exercise

By Adrienne Rozells

My sister used to tell me to hold my breath as we drove past the graveyard. “That’s how the ghosts get into you,” she said. When I saw a headstone coming I stopped short of an inhale, caught my words in my throat, and watched the graves ease past the windows until we were clear.

As we got older, it occurred to me that it was strange that the rule only applied while we were in the car.

I mean, no one asked me to stop breathing at her burial. That’d just put another body in the ground.

I visit, still. The cemetery’s got green grass in the summertime, dewy trees in the fall, and flowers and pinwheels in memoriam.

“Don’t you follow me home now. I’ve got enough ghosts.”

They’re in the riverbeds, and my bed, and under my fingernails. I breathe in.

Adrienne Rozells holds a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College. She works as co-EIC at Catchwater Magazine, and her poetry and flash fiction can be found in Kissing Dynamite; Sledgehammer Lit; and The Tide Rises, The Tide Falls. She has two novels scheduled for release in 2021. Keep up on Twitter @arozells, or Instagram @rozellswrites. Her favorite things include strawberries, her dogs, and extrapolating wildly about the existence of Bigfoot.