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.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- Rest Stop
- Ghazal, Between the Lines
- Ghazal, Beaded with Rain
- Night Heron, Ascending
- Derecho Ghazal
- Mid-year Ghazal
- Mortal Ghazal
- Landscape, with Chinese Lanterns
- Charmed Life
- What We’ll Remember
- Ghost of a pulse in the throat
- Throttle Ghazal
- Of Nectar
- Getting There
- Four-Way Stop
- Flood Alphabet
- The hummingbird isn’t the only bird
- A hawk circles over the ridge
- Rather than the tightening fist,
- Reversed Alphabet of Rain
- (poem temporarily hidden by author)
- Letter, to Order
- There’s a bird that comes
- September 1972
- Fire Drill
3 Replies to “After”
Mysterious and wonderful.
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!)
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.