Fever Blessing

Martha Zweig

                    maggot: archaic, a whimsical fancy

Short work a day’s malaise

has made of me! Thus far I body forth

what you see before you: crank

of sickbed arts, toilet articles, nighttable

tumbler of ice, a black cracker, white-hot bulb

peeping from under its ruched shade, irritable

minority of which? (or another?) one

bookish hallucination I might pick.

You at the doorknob. Burglar

of practical whereabouts & scenarios. Must I look a sight?

Grown into my room like the tight

sleep daddy wished his favorite

girl, with window leaves & the long

lobes of light the cars hurled

bungling along the walls as they passed out of the neighborhood

& beyond ken —

you, there, bidden intruder,

signatory in & out of my body’s modest

down-to-earthly log, boost

me into the chilly stirrup whose horse, too big

for me to see, too strenuous to hold, bolts off

in a shudder of hide to the high

screes rumpling their rodents & pinched herbs

into rime crystals & glare,

where the archaic maggots squirm

my pupils until my stone skull

sutures fault to fracture in figments

of speech running me ragged to ricochet

& then by tomorrow

morning switch, drop me to bed alive,

damp & muttering probably still my beady numbers & sorrow,

nevertheless bones reknit & chuckling over their pink marrow.

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