Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
- TITLE: Influenza
By Emily Gibson
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an ice cube feeling runs down
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
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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