Poem: A Loss of Horizons


A Loss of Horizons

Life has become closer, more precious,
bound by walls and doors and masks
and an unfamiliar fear.

This is not who you are.
But it is, right now.
Something weaker than you want to admit,
far more vulnerable,
your breathing labored and wheezy,
unsure. Each moment, each breath
both work and a celebration.

You remember your father like this,
his smoke ravaged lungs straining each breath
for the last years of his life,
no medicine,
no mechanics able to do more than making the next possible.
I watched the wearing away,
of body and mind, and will.

This will pass. Already the medicines are at work.
Already your wheeze has died down to a whisper.
You will heal. Doors will open.
Horizons will return,
and you will walk them, staring into the dusky sky
unafraid of death,
thankful you have been spared for a time,
the gratitude itself a kind of horizon,
a way of seeing past your vulnerability,
finding again the horizons once lost,
and finally, reclaiming each and every one.

About this poem

My father had COPD the last many years of his life. It was terrible for him in the last years.

I’ve been battling a lung issue for the past few weeks. At this point, I am on steroids to beat back the resultant inflammation in my lungs. It’s been a slow journey, but I am on the upswing finally. Not contagious at all, but very tiring. Not being able to breathe well leaves you with a sense of vulnerability.

I was supposed to be at Cape Cod this month for just a few days. I miss the ocean and the emptiness of the offseason there. Nothing brings me back to myself like hours on an empty beach.

I am actually doing fine during this quarantine. But I an as tired of it as anyone.




  1. Sorry to read this Tom. It is very unpleasant and with the virus all around, it makes one more aware of the lungs. I have some sort of lung issue that has never been properly explained to me. I was severely asthmatic as a child but not now. I just have trouble filling my lungs up…feel frequently out-of-breath but I think in my case half of it is in my head, no matter that I try to think my way out of it!
    Anyway, feel better soon.

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