14 February, 2017

An Occasional Poem, Unfortunately Relevant Again

Sick in Stir

Some chicken soup would be nice.
Also a capful of NyQuil. A better

Bed on which to sleep — not that sleep
Comes easily. Last night, flipping

This way and that in my stricken state,
Insomniac scrapings and thumps from

My cellmate not helping matters,
Scratchings in my throat, I wondered if it's

Feed a cold, starve a fever,
Or the other way around. No matter

The comfort-foodstuffs I have can be
Accounted thusly: four bricks of ramen soup,

Sugar cubes, saltines, instant coffee, nothing
Wholesome this worn-out body needs. I'm well-

To-do by the standards of a few, "doin' bad" by more.
No TLC from an attendant (those ministrations

Are a weaker man's refuge), bedside. So I hack
And spit, Ahem and sigh, too weary to keep

Up with the prison banter hurtling by, just
Making do, hanging on, being of

The moment as much as a windup mind
Like mine allows, sick and doing time.

* * * * *

Originally published in autumn 2014, in issue 9 of the literary magazine Trajectory, "Sick in Stir" is obviously my response to a nasty cold suffered in an even nastier place. A couple of nights ago I felt the familiar sinus pinch and slight itchiness, harbingers of the full-on festival of snot and fatigue that not even bingeing on seven oranges and taking several hour-long naps could stave off. Considering that everyone around me seemed to be infected, last year and the year before, I've been lucky to have kept my health. Now's just my time. Please excuse me while I go blow my brains out.

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