Poem 30 Revised

Fever begins in the mouth—a tongue press’d

On the teeth, sand caked to the gums—your thumbs

Way-in-the-back crushing your molars to dust.

//In the eye—fever vows lies, that others are sweating

Others are pale, the man there beside you has let loose a wail,

//Coughs comforts from deep-deep in the throat,

These, not from a fever—no—not on your lips,

The lady beside you has covered her chips

//In the mind, a refuge of faith, not sick contagious,

Please hand me a tissue, hay fever or vent dust

List yourself issues. See, nothing at all, lean on the guard rail

Rest by the wall, this isn’t a fever, you’re not really ill

If it were your neighbor, board windows—take action!

But since it’s your fever you hope for compassion.



Poem 30 EditingPoem 30 Original

Poem 30

When other things feel like fever I remember an odd story from an odd friend, retold best as a broken sonnet.

Fever begins in the glossless recesses of the mind

Where the doorknob sits mocking me—
She swears there this carpet could fill the walls
Of my throat with want for words, nothing as important
As the temperature rising; as a string on a balloon
I climb higher abreast the hopes of melting ice cream and curdled milk.
Tasting, as you well know, of implied putridity I wait placid
For a glass straw to bring me health. And she, for all her wisdom
Has convinced me if I stare hard enough I could fit
Through the key hole of the unlocked-closet-door where light
Streaming through could easily be from the stove-top water
She’s boiling my fever in… that @*!(&   

forgetting always that clear possibility that this regret 
feels less like Montague and more like Hamlet