The New CPR ~ Joanne M. Clarkson


We no longer breathe for each other.  No
longer need that anonymous lip lock that for years
spelled salvation.  Strangers walked away
from possible mouth-to-mouth
contagion and besides, scientists say,
there is enough oxygen stored in the bloodstream
to keep flesh alive if we just

compress.  A hundred beats a minute.  Like
struggling uphill toward a cathedral
of need, jogging home for supper or
sprinting down some spring-soaked
avenue to propose to courage.  Whatever knocking
it takes to get this stopped muscle
to repeat itself.

I find that space two fingers up from the
sternum.  Ball one fist and cap it
with my other hand.  The 911 operator
counts for me.  I whistle toward
the moon, take in clouds still ripe
with sunset.  All the while listening

beyond earshot for sirens announcing
trained hands and a defibrillator.  And after,
when they have revived the body – or not-
am I allowed a kiss then?  Or am I
forever denied the electricity of skin?  True
cardiac flint?