Found on New Year’s Day

Discussions of carbon monoxide
leave me lightheaded so early in
the new year. I search for answers
to the expanding riddle of 2017—

breaking spines to get inside the cool,
flat surfaces that cannot fully contain

“celebrations of objects
and experiences
that have been overlooked
or underappreciated.”

I consult the adjacent how-to column.
I am easily distracted by imperatives.

Hold your breath
while driving through a tunnel.
But don’t turn blue.
Don’t pass out.

Don’t cross the double
yellow line into oncoming traffic.
Learn how to build
an igloo instead.

Make sure the snow hasn’t gone through
a freeze-thaw cycle. The trick
to free diving
is to learn how not to breathe.

Punch a hole near the top.
Push past all feelings.

Forget nearly everything.
Don’t black out. Cut a door as small
as possible. Be liquid as you enter.
Become the sea.

Found elements from “Not Breathing,” by Ryan Bradley (from The New York Times Magazine Letter of Recommendation, 1/1/17) and “How to Build an Igloo,” by Jaime Lowe (from The New York Times Magazine Tip column, 1/1/17)

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