Eyes open, sit up, and stretching, 

Check your heart rate, 

70 beats per minutes. 

Reach for your glasses on your nightstand. 

Glasses. Not. There. 

76 beats per minute. 

Scramble out of bed onto your hands and knees, 

On the floor under the bed you feel their roundness, 

Then you see their lavender color. 

70 beats per minute. 

Step into the kitchen. Lights on, 

Apple juice, cup, fork, eggs salt… cranberry muffins, 

You hate cranberry muffins. 

87 beats per minute. 

Check the counter again. Sesame seed bagels., 

Your hands begin to sweat, 

101 beats per minute. 

Search for the smallest bit of oxygen in the room. 

Skim the top of the fridge. Whole wheat toast— 

Oh, you like toast, 

70 beats per minute. 

Cram yourself into the only lefty desk in the corner, 

Take out your pencil and recite “Our Father who art in Heaven”, 

The stack finally reaches you and the exam begins NOW! 

What’s the capital of Kazakhstan? Astana, 

What is odontophobia? The fear of teeth, 

Solve for x and y if 3x+17y=89– 


120 beats per minute. 

Hastily, scribble down something. Stand up, 

Check for oxygen in the room, 

The class room spins on its axis, 

You grip the desk white knuckled, 

125 beats per minute. 

Hands stutter as you try to hand the exam to your professor, 

Give up, slam it on her desk instead. 

Sweat pour from your hairline as you walk away. 

117 beats per minute. 

Your throat is constricting and you might just collapse, 

Check to see if there’s enough oxygen outside– 

There isn’t. 

119 beats per minute. 

You begin to run away faster than you ever knew you could, 

Faster than there seems to be enough oxygen to support. 

Your arms are swinging in alternate directions, 

When finally, you feel it, 

Swoosh—the oxygen comes back into your lungs, 

Bringing you back to life. 

82 beats per minute. 

A few days later you study the worn path ahead. 

100 beats per minute. 

Your feet strike the ground rhythmically, 

A steady beat of music drums through your ears, 

Check for oxygen outside? 

Feel the swoosh through your nose, 


83 beats per minute.