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I Fumigate the Spores from my Lungs
Written by: Caitlin C. Baker

I never believed in reiki
even as I sat cross-legged on the floor of a
technicolor yurt fogged with incense as if the
breath had crept down from the mountains.

I listened as a woman named
Babylonia explained that perpetuation
of deceit can cause respiratory disease
as lies will lodge in the lungs like

black mycelium blooms lush with
deadly spores tucked between their swelling velvet folds.
I thought of you, and of the opalescent mold
I inhaled when I pretended

that I didn’t know about your
girlfriend who still didn’t know about me, even
as you had introduced us the day after we...
You had made it look so easy.

I had imagined the moment
when I would expectorate the secret that would
fumigate our lungs like a fire-spitting wyrm
unleashing such devastation,

a boiling blessing I’d bestow
so that everything you had built was set ablaze,
your falsehoods turned to ash for everyone to see,
ashamed, sorry, and clean at last.

But instead my guilt erupted
as an insuppressible and sputtering cough,
a sudden expulsion from my esophagus
of the secret I couldn’t keep.

Red-faced, choking on the fiction
with which you had filled me, I excused myself and
wondered at how much practice it must have taken
to breathe through all the lies you tell.


Caitlin C. Baker is a writer from the Cleveland-area of Ohio. She
received her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2010 from Wittenberg
University. A writer with many passions, she enjoys writing poetry, fiction, short satire and silly
little songs about her two cats.

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