by Kathleen Szoke

                                        \’ap-ne-∂\    n. – a transient cessation of respiration

                                        She lies motionless, inches from his side
                                        waits for him to breathe
                                              unsure which is worse
                                              the guttural roar of his snoring
                                              or the sweet torturous silence when it stops
                                        she counts her own breaths
                                              –    one    –     two    –    three    –    four
                                        in the gaps between his
                                        waits for the sudden
                                        the inhalation that signals
                                        that all is well once more

                                        the roaring begins
                                        and she waits for his breathing to stop.


Apnea was first published in Hammered Out, Issue #5, February 2005.