After sleeping

for hours, I am still waiting

to exhale

morning breath,


so I can spit

into my bathroom sink

with a healthy squeeze

of toothpaste.


I breathe in again

and hold it again,

like noxious-fumes avoidance

or a morning bong hit.


I waste scant time

gargling mouthwash

like pickle shots,

popping placebos like Xanax,


sucking fresh air,

changing my paradigm,

changing the font

on my nameplate,


changing my password

to something less accessible

but honest,

changing reality itself.


I am frantic to exhale

and spit.

Because, in the morning,

I gasp for breath.


Eric Blanchard

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Eric Blanchard dreamed of dropping out of high school, but when the haze of adolescence cleared, he found himself in law school instead. After being a trial lawyer for a decade and a half, he ran away to Ohio, where he taught school and lived a mindful life for about a minute. Eventually, he returned home to help care for his parents. Eric’s poetry has been included in numerous collections, both online and in hard copy. In 2013, his prose poem “The Meeting Ran Long” was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net anthology. His chapbook, The Good Parts, was published in January 2020 by Finishing Line Press.

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