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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)

TITLE: Influenza
By Emily Gibson
04/13/11


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All is fine
until
an ice cube feeling runs down
the spine
eliciting a shiver
to try to shake away,
wanting to ignore it
as nothing at all.

The chill won’t warm up-
it returns unbidden
like a fall into a snow bank
then over a cliff as every muscle
starts to ache, grabbing for a hold,
clinging fast to life on the way down
but illness overcomes as
every movement becomes an effort
of walking with chewing gum sticky soles,
every hair sensitive to the touch of air.

One innocent swallow and
tiny daggers scratch the back of the throat
even saliva hurts going down.
The head heavily balances on the neck,
pounding a percussed rhythm,
eyes too sensitive to stay open,
watering and bleary.

The neck and back protest
at any effort to stay
upright, each breath sharp,
ending with a cough, talking
causes hacking, too soon a feeling
of being submerged.

The stomach uneasy
like a stormy sea of acid where nothing
dares to float.
There is no sleep, only feverish torment
and distorted dreams as overheated brain
deludes into viral
nightmares.

No one touches the ill
without knowing the risk;
No one feeds the ill
without knowing the need;
No one loves the ill
without hating the killer within.

No one knows when that ice cube
will find them too,
sliding down the spine
to cause that very first shiver-
the beginning of the end.


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This article has been read 308 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 04/18/11
So vivid - love the imagery, and the repetition of the ice cube. Powerful.
Sunny Loomis 04/19/11
Pass the aspirin! Chivers (chills & shivers). Well done. Thank you.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/23/11
Such good imagery! I could feel it all! Ugh!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/26/11
Congratulations on placing 10th in Masters and 13th overall.