Instructions for Becoming a Living Being
After Genesis 2:7
The atmosphere is the breath of God
flowing into our lungs, expanding within,
mingling our molecules,
making us one—a continual creative
animating this clay—
New Adams immemorial with each
of air divine.
Every exhalation is a prayer
returning this borrowed breath,
a thank you from Eden’s ground
somewhere deep within our chest.
For God is our Father,
the breath of life a ball,
as we play catch
with mitts of clay
until one day
and Christ comes running over,
holding our last breath in his hands,
imbuing us with a new voice
as we shed this surface made of sand.
Yet while this clay is living,
I raise my voice to the dead,
for grandmothers and grandfathers,
sisters and brothers,
every form of clay fusing us with
mingling my life with theirs,
in the rhythms of this massive breath we share:
the moment of this inhalation [big breath here],
is a gift.
Each inhalation a new creation,
as God’s breath flows past lips,
always beginning at the head
and ending near the heart,
sustaining life within,
connecting us with You,
every particle of mortal mud,
all the living and the dead.
Patrick Morgan is a Louisiana-based writer originally from Watertown, New York. His work has appeared in We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope: Reflections to Honor His Centenary (Fons Vitae), The Pocket Instructor: Literature (Princeton University Press), and has work forthcoming in The Pocket Instructor: Writing (Princeton University Press). He was the editorial assistant for American Literature (Duke University Press).