Fresh Air

I was sure I’d want to write

about it, the cells, the scalpel

the zapping absences

the statistical rarity, that is

til my brain reached out 

& touched air

& I wonder

is hospital air more or less 

purified than the redlined air

in the bando up in flames 

it was a place

to live, breathe hopefully 

towards a future coal dust free

was hospital air itemized

on the invoice? 

what was the cost

of this birthright

I don’t want 

but I remember       I was there

I’d love to show you

what’s left of the stash 

of silver doodles I dropped 

zigzag through the city

the only way I breathe, 

walk        to look for birds

Note: “I remember, I was there” is from “mood indigo” by Ntozake Shange.


red is a white, fat, nonbinary person sitting at a weaving loom, threading yarn onto the loom. they're wearing a black shirt that reads "never talk to cops" - in the background are other people weaving on a standing loom.

red nesbitt (they/them) is a poet, reluctant social worker, and organizer living on Piscataway lands in so-called Baltimore. Their work has appeared in Dream Pop Press, Poetry Project’s Footnotes and is forthcoming in Protean