Alex Patriquin

Marginalia & found poetry. Short fiction and other projects. Musings  on startups. Photos from NYC and travels.

A constant flow

He is sitting outside with the usual group of prisoners, which now includes Vartan, the pianist, who is not a talkative man, at least not here. Isaac, too, has little to say.  These weekly hours of fresh air leave him indifferent. During his first month he would use his hour to breathe as deeply as he could, as if breathing deeper and harder could somehow allow his body to store more oxygen for those remaining one hundred sixty-seven hours of the week. But just as overeating the night before the fast of Yom Kippur does nothing to quell the hunger that inevitably surges during the final hours of that long day of atonement and fasting, so too the deep breaths did little to help him endure those unending days spent in his dank cell. The human body is like that. It needs a constant flow of nourishment, air, and love, to survive. Unlike currency, these things cannot be accumulated. At any given moment, either you have them, or you don’t.

From Dalia Sofer’s "The Septembers of Shiraz"