This is material from an entry I wrote when I got a very bad case of pneumonia a couple Christmases ago.
#1d2129“>Angry slow burn of fever
spreads across my chest,
I pile on the blankets
and shake underneath them-
with my castanet teeth,
and xylophone bones
and my temperature ascends,
just like a slide whistle.
A mirage of my mother
at the foot of my bed,
watches me, shaking her head.
I cough up a bullseye of blood
into a tissue, marking the moment
I realize I’m in trouble.
#1d2129“>I call my mother and beg her
to come get my children
even though it’s on Christmas Day.
And, as she signs off,
it sounds like she says
I love you
a phrase so oft-withheld
in the purse of her mouth
that in my fevered state
I can’t even be sure
that she actually said it.
#1d2129“>Later, I lie for hours
thinking about the end of that call,
wondering if it was all imagined-
as 2 blue vases, deep in my chest,
hold bouquets of poppies
that keep losing their petals
no matter how well watered I keep them.
No choice now
but to breathe from the very place that hurts
and blame it all on the pneumonia.