Arguments with destiny: 5

“I have a steadfast joy
and a joy that’s lost…” ~ “Riches,” Gabriela Mistral

When you were sick for a long time,
the ceiling tilted like a throat
drunk on the molasses of slow
fevered dreams. Marooned

on an island of sheets, you
were brought water, ice cubes,
bowls of broth, fruit plucked
from the tree and speckled

with night rain. The sun swelled
somewhere, in a different sky.
Yours was the cocoon of frog
songs, old ceremony of rice

grains poured into shallow dishes
to divine the blood’s chemical
repercussions. When finally
they led you into the steam

of a bath, you broke through
the surface: sacrificial lattice
of eucalyptus leaves dissolving
in a paroxysm of long-held breath.

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