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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wong

How to be alive

I think sometimes of the teacher

who tried to insist

scribbling poems was a waste of talent

when I had potential

to be a scientist


Even though storytelling and biology

are just the same thing

Both the study of how to be alive


Open someone up, inspect their insides

and what do you get?

A lung dissection

or a sonnet


Because in year seven I learned we need oxygen

but it transpires we turn each breath

to laughter, music, purpose, heartbreak, awe

All as human and vital as a pulse


We tell our stories each:

This is a human heart, see how it beats

This is your breath, which can be snatched away

by pneumonia or a sunset

And isn't it a remarkable thing

to be alive?

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