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Drawing Out Meanings














By Terry Trowbridge

Copyright ©2024


Rise upon this groaning life of doubt?

-Emile Nelligan (2017). Ship of Gold, 56.


The orgasmic breath.

Exhale of aloneness. Aloof,

thanks to the self-assurance

of privacy in solitude.


A different kind of blood waning

Than, (whatever the antonym of erection is),

slow-ebbing pulses unhinged from the heart

when two bodies rush to a stop.


Why am I attracted to doubt?

When I am alone, twisting myself

around wanting, and I don’t have.

When I accompany another earthling,

what is that moment of triumph,

but the relief that the impossible connection

came true? But I breathe alone.


The breaths of it are hardly seamless.

Heartbeats take too long to slow

without another heart to compare.

Seamy, I breathe the dark air.

Alone, unlit self: somewhere is a mirror

but no reflection. Only introspection.

Unluckily, introspection.

Sometimes, the flow-state of marathons,

then sleep.


Alone, I solicit waking apnea. I transcend breath.

Arise, throw convections into outer space.

Squeeze the ribs around the flexed limbs.

Sometimes, a sound, unintended.

The return to breathing by rote

becomes loud, by way of that chance sound.

Lonesome unmeaning.




About Terry Trowbridge:

Terry Trowbridge is grateful to the Ontario Arts Council for his first writing grant, and their support of so many writers during the polycrisis. 

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