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OXYGEN by Janavi Held

This poem comes from an unpublished collection called, Time I Am...

 The title comes from a verse in the Bhagavad Gita, or The Song of GodAfter going back to school and graduating in 2009, I was enjoying the freedom of writing without deadlines, and all these poems, reflecting on time, just poured out of me. The collection is divided into three sections: time and how it relates to nature, how time influences our bodies and our social circumstances, and the perception of time and how it influences our spiritual evolution.  The collection also includes photographs. These flowers are from the island of Kauai and from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

This poem, Oxygen, is from the second chapter.  

Photograph by the author, Janavi Held

Oxygen
by Janavi Held

Absentmindedly
my lungs take in oxygen
and my fingernails grow
and my heart circulates life
through my careless limbs.
I am entangled in a computer of flesh
like flowers growing
or vines finding obliging trees
to hug and cling to.
Bits of flesh are adulterous
eaten by earthly time
as eternity looms longingly
waiting for me to become a bride
to pry myself from this blanket of forgetfulness,
this perpetual winter of exasperated cold.
But today, I am still a damp leaf
needing to be sun dried,
still a yellow poppy
or a purple iris needing earth,
and my absentminded lungs remain
silently chewing on God’s oxygen.

Photography by the author, Janavi Held


Janavi Held is the author of Letters to my Oldest Friend: A Book of Poetry and Photography. She has also contributed poems to two poetry anthologies, Bhakti Blossoms: A Collection of Contemporary Vaishnavi Poetry and GODDESS: When She Rules: Expressions by Contemporary Women. Two of her poems were shortlisted for the prestigious Hamilton House International Poetry Prize awarded by the University Centre Grimsby, and published in their anthology "Eternal". Janavi started writing poetry and wandering around with her father’s camera as a child. At the age of nineteen, she began practicing Bhakti yoga. She held a bachelor’s degree from Goddard College where she studied poetry, photography, and media studies. She passed away peacefully in December of 2018 after having battled a brutal illness. You may read more of her poems and view her artwork on her website here and Facebook page here

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