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Out of Breath by Julia Ruth Smith

there’s a priest smoking can priests smoke can i smoke in here it’s an airport but we’re in the nineties priests smoke i can too it’s an emergency it’s your mum on the telephone they said at work it’s urgent her voice is ragged in effect says I’d better get a plane as soon as possible he’s taken a turn for the worse worse than breathing oxygen through tubes not being able to watch people running because it hurts i get a plane then i have to get another between planes i smoke and no i don’t see the irony

the airport is brittle there’s a lot of noise and i’m not for noise right now can i leave the airport and breath outside and then come back in and catch my flight i think i can i risk it and they let me then on the plane bound for london the hostess asks kindly if i want coffee and i lose it big time they lay me on seats and tell me to breathe here I see the irony

when i arrive there’s my best friend from school so I know already that i’m too late and will never feel his scratchy beard again and i feel a bit like a child but if i cry how can i look after everyone else i cry anyway because she wants me to and takes me home where my mum is beside herself but we all hold it in for years and years.


Julia Ruth Smith is a teacher, mother and writer of small things. She has both poetry and fiction in Full House Literary, Anamorphoseis, Skirting Around, and Jaden Magazines and scatterings elsewhere. Twitter: JuliaRuthSmith1

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