This entry is part 12 of 47 in the series Morning Porch Poems: Summer 2012


Dear mother, what was that paste you made from some blue tincture, into which you dipped swaths of gauze? I’d burned for a week with a fever. My voice shrank in my throat like a snail into the coil of its shell. And was that a dream as well?— At the height of my delirium, I turned and saw three women at the foot of my bed. One recited the rosary, the other watched the gathering shapes of melted wax from a taper. The other rubbed crushed wild garlic into the hollows of my elbows and behind my knees. I fell asleep, it seems for hours and hours. I drenched the sheets with sweat. Night turned its red throat away from the window. When I woke all I wanted was water: to feel its long, cool hand reach down into my new-old insides; to lie back on the sheets, remembering how to breathe.


In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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3 Replies to “After”

  1. Ah, that brought back a memory. Liquid starch or bluing with gauze… Also making giant Easter eggs with balloons and colored kleenex and bluing.

    Especially liked the snail-voice and the three fates (surely!) watching (and even a bit helpful, these!)

  2. Thanks, Dave and Marly. Wow, the three fates… just hit me now! And what goes in the bluing, again? I’ve been trying to remember.

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