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ISSUE:  Autumn 2000
I was most in danger then. Sick in my parents’
bed, their warm delicious musk, seeming
to me the true
smell of the universe, sheets
extra-bald from
unimaginable rubbings. Counting the snagged
threads of the old fakesatin comforter, coughing,
sneezing or just unable to breathe, I could
be happy there. His hand on my head
or rubbing my back when the lungs tightened
to cold fists. Or she brought me
cups of something dark
to drink without sugar. Sometimes I poured
them out the window. In the dark,
allowed to watch
the TV’s white eye all day if I wished and no one
stopped me.
They brought me food
on a tray. And on that
day everyone
asked how I was.
The danger then was feeling
it was possible
for them to care for me
enough and all I had
to do was
not be able to breathe.


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