Pneuma Breath and spirit are one. This I know with my ear pressed to the phone, smiling at a crackle on the line – your slow exhale – while my parents sleep across the hall. It’s a song without words, the heavy unspoken, like I had another dream where we just sat and talked and Did you have the same one? You say Remind me to tell you something in a long time. I don’t know what a long time means, but I want you there when I find out – want like the prophet denied the promised land – to sit by you in the grass outside your house, a squirming cat between us, heads bent together laughing in the dark. Only a picture of Zion and a blessing. Couldn’t even get you to hold my hand that night from the passenger side, and trust me, I tried. So for now we talk in riddles, and when I prod for answers, you only breathe a laugh that trickles down my head like cool anointing oil. I say your name in a benediction to my empty room, grinning when I realize This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done, but didn’t God in all his wisdom, in a word become one of us. We say goodnight and wander long around the truth, but I can hear you breathe, and who could tell the difference.
Kathryn Muensterman is a native of Indiana and is currently pursuing a BA in English Literature at Washington and Lee University. She is the winner of a 2020 Academy of American Poets University Prize for her poem “Eschatology” (https://poets.org/2020-eschatology), and her poetry also appears in Washington and Lee’s literary magazine, Ampersand.