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Soon They'll Place a Sin Tax on Air

It’s no wonder half the girl’s tennis team in the 626

has asthma.

We run along the 10 freeway every week.

It’s a three-mile loop,

a quarter of which winds us smashed between

the eyesore Five Star Inn

and the whizzing blur of cars. Briefly on our jog,

the pollution is masked

by the dank, onioned air of In-n-Out—a deep-fried moment

which sinks away as we jog on,

eventually slowing our jog to a wheezing, wayward walk.

They call it exercise-induced

asthma — but for half the team to have it? It’s the grayness

in the sky clogging our lungs

until they’re so soaked with soot that we’ll check ‘smoker’

on the insurance forms,

despite the fact that our tennis lungs have never had a drag—

not on purpose anyway.


Elizabeth Reitzell teaches college English and works as a newspaper copy editor. She holds a Master in Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Hollins University. Born and raised in the Southern Californian town where Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure was set, Elizabeth now resides in Roanoke, Virginia.

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