Fever Baby

Jaclyn Dwyer

          The night the Duggar scandal

breaks, my daughter spikes    a fever.

I strip her down to      run her small

                      body under cool water.

While they were sleeping,     Josh Duggar touched

his sisters      over and under

            their clothes,             weaving

fingers through armored denim,

            thumbing          a hole in the seam

of a shirt. Our daughter’s body            hurts

                          like an oven I’m too afraid

to touch.           American Girl Doll

            Girl of the Year,           Grace

loves to bake. She pipes           French

                          macaroons for sale,

a field of pastel coins. I dated

            Josh Duggar   once. Not him,

but a man who lured his little

            brother to          the bottom bunk,

closed his eyes and pretended that skinny,

                                             bow-legged boy

was the girl who turned him down

                     at the dance. I wait             all night,

curled on the lip of the tub        for the fever        to break.

                     He put his mouth on my pecker

                                           that was his word for it.

Wedging himself wet. The fever thirsts                fizzles.

          The baby          sleeps

                     toweled in terrycloth.   Grace hungers

                                   for a girl in velveteen clothes.

How can you take from a small thing

          nested against you       like a cloud

          stitched over earth? In the bathroom

          I discover I am pregnant    again.

                                            My body fills

                        with other bodies that buck

and twist inside me               like the fingers of men.


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