Instructions for Becoming a Living Being

catholic poetry room
This week’s poem in the Catholic Poetry Room is by Patrick Morgan.                                                                                                                     

Instructions for Becoming a Living Being
After Genesis 2:7

The atmosphere is the breath of God
flowing into our lungs, expanding within,
mingling our molecules,
making us one—a continual creative
act
animating this clay—
New Adams immemorial with each
intake
of air divine.
Every exhalation is a prayer
returning this borrowed breath,
a thank you from Eden’s ground
somewhere deep within our chest.
For God is our Father,
the breath of life a ball,
as we play catch
with mitts of clay
until one day
it falls,
and Christ comes running over,
holding our last breath in his hands,
imbuing us with a new voice
as we shed this surface made of sand.
Yet while this clay is living,
I raise my voice to the dead,
for grandmothers and grandfathers,
sisters and brothers,
every form of clay fusing us with
each other,
mingling my life with theirs,
remembering always,
in the rhythms of this massive breath we share:
the moment of this inhalation [big breath here],
this exhalation,
is a gift.
Each inhalation a new creation,
as God’s breath flows past lips,
always beginning at the head
and ending near the heart,
sustaining life within,
connecting us with You,
with them,
every particle of mortal mud,
all the living and the dead.


Patrick Morgan is a Louisiana-based writer originally from Watertown, New York. His work has appeared in We Are Already One: Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope: Reflections to Honor His Centenary (Fons Vitae), The Pocket Instructor: Literature (Princeton University Press), and has work forthcoming in The Pocket Instructor: Writing (Princeton University Press). He was the editorial assistant for American Literature (Duke University Press).

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About the Author

Jeffrey Essmann, ICL Poetry Curator To submit poetry to be considered for the Catholic Poetry Room, visit our submission guidelines page.


Jeffrey Essmann is Poetry Editor for IntegratedCatholicLife.org and always searching for the best Catholic poetry from today's poets as well as those of the past.

Jeffrey is an essayist and poet living in New York. His work has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, among them America Magazine, Dappled Things, the St. Austin Review and The Road Not Taken. He is a Benedictine oblate of Mt. Saviour Monastery.

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