Freezing to death, dying of heat. One cough, another, waking into an ache. Another pill and come on evening, let’s get dark. I’ve been sick for over a week now, though last week I pretended to not be terribly sick & went about my way. Now there’s no mistaking it: from this bed I’ve watched sixteen dozen variations of light come through the gold curtains, dragged this bag of flesh to the doctor for the same diagnosis as always : strep throat. Again the discussion of tonsils, surgery. I watch the snow melt on the tenement rooftop across the street. Now, now the sky’s a gauze baby-pink, dusk creeping up all gentle, 6 o’clock so I can drop a drop of medicine in my eye, take two blue pills.
In this condition, absences become stronger. Sarah Hannah, gone from this body; my friend Derek, gone into a silence. I cannot help it, at night, I want (or need?) a story. When I was young, I was sick often. I don’t remember much about being little – I was sick, home frequently, missing school picnics, dances, seemingly always ill on the beautiful day or the special occasion. Our pediatrician lived next door, and (arguably) over-medicated us into weak immunity. Perhaps we (I) was always weak. Blind as a bat, dreadful teeth, a handful of maybe-true-or-not diagnoses of mental illness…. it makes an annoyingly strong case against procreation. But then sometimes my mother’s voice seeps in, that voice which says the most insensible things.. that children are always there, that family is always there… In states like this, in the seventeenth type of light (gray-blue teeth light) coming through the curtains, I wonder. I just wonder. The medicines help the physical pain, but something cries out for a story, for a voice like a boat to send me off to sleep.