Breathe Them In

Growing up,
the other kids always said
that holding your breath
while passing a cemetery
would keep the spirits
from entering through your mouth.
As if a thousand families
would have to visit your house
just to mourn their loved ones.
You’d have to hope
that your gag reflex
could handle so many ghosts,
that your throat wouldn’t get sore,
your heart wouldn’t get heavy.
That you wouldn’t end up
with bleeding lungs
from coughing up the dead.

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