Her children, There, with her, Some looked away, Pretended she was well.
Imagined forward a blueprint of generations Unborn Who would know her too, Diligent in the daydream that She would always be there.
They pretended hard.
The pain too much Too beyond imagining Too abstract, To think that she could ever go away.
One child sought every new medicine, And every ancient cure To get that fever down. She wanted so badly for her mother to live.
What she could not find in snake oil or Wive’s tales she invented, Or invested in Those who invent Antidotes for age and Promised new birth for old bodies.
Which had nourished each child Provided for their every need , And more And more Their every growing wish, As they grew older.
And yet, another child sat simply Smoking idly by her bedside. Beyond caring. Taking solace in the comfort of a drag And the recognition that There was not one thing That he alone could do. He blew smoke rings in her old face.
He didn’t need that old bitch anyway.
Terra had always smiled at her babes, Who in their adolescence thought They knew more than she did. She worried for them most. They that took so much Of that which she Had once been So glad to give.
But she was tired now. ...
“If the fever goes down, That’s a good sign Now, we wait.”
She heard her children hear.
Made from her body Not one could now Face how Dependent they were still.
Not one would fully recognize That every Thing, Every Opportunity, Breath, Was made able because of her.
Surrounded by overripe fruits Of labor meant to give her Warmth and comfort in her old age Made old too soon by too much struggle. She felt so cold.
What does a fever do? She pulled the thought within her now, Deep within the core of her, To focus through the pain.
The function... What is the function of a fever? How was it possible for a fever to climb When she felt so cold? Why would anyone who loved her Or cared about the quality of her continuing Want the fever to go down?
Because fevers fight. The blistering result of an army, Heroic, railing against the rising storms Battling the invaders, The tiny predatory parasites, That feed on healthy bodies.
Burn, she thought. Burn my cloudy, dirty blood Clean again.
Shaking, convulsing In bitter waves of Rising temperature, Anger crept into the closed corners of her eyes. The indignity of it all.
What would help her See them, As she saw them When they were babes? What memory would cool The embers of her feeling Of love failed?
There was a when When they suckled, Harmoniously. She produced and gave They took and created, A feeling in the depths of her That was worth the drain.
But she was tired now.
Ripped open. Sewn shut. Blood flow stopped, Re-routed, Arteries of concrete, Clouds—thick and dark Making each breath burn.
There was a when When she had been Unsullied by greedy Little mouths and hands No, they don’t stay sweet babes forever. She provided for them Every stitch on their backs Every bite in their bellies So helpless, Those children....They just...
They’re just... Summoning excuses, She thought...
Unknowing ignorant blind?
Through shivers, Explosions of fluids And fits of calm, She barely recognized her children That she had born and loved.
She shook at the thought Her marrow come alive with heat.
When they were young they’d honored her As she was. Then they imagined her into What they thought they needed. Drilled into her to take What she was unable to give.
Those children who allowed her nothing private.
They had left her, too In search of more, Believing that she was not enough. They escaped the atmosphere She had provided In search of better adventures.
The fever climbed.
She focused. She focused hard.
She alone would have to fight. She thought, If I can understand myself Outside the ecosystem of My life in service I can master My forward, My tomorrow My... If I can focus my heat Towards my infection.
What is the nature of infection?
Primary pathogens Reproduce Spread.
You know, You don’t know sometimes That you are sick. That they are eating you. Until you wake up one day All but consumed.
You. Giver of nutrients. Giver (She thinks) To all things. Take this And eat from me. (She thinks)
She radiates her heat
This burn Above and below. Go forth and multiply (She thinks) The burning acid of my Brow and breath.
Will my contagion Move on to explore And subvert Someone else’s heath? And my children, Weep not. I will not let you go cold. Gone from me. Don’t cry I will stop your crying.
Then she wondered, In the illuminating Calefaction
Will I burn them up?
Can they contain the blaze Seeping from my core, Or will I simply be replaced? By a cooler Made to order Less complicated version Of what they believe to be The best of myself? Or will this newfound Radiance take them with me When I go? Would that feel like justice To become ash, All together?
My disease...my children... ... The fever soared.