Sick Day

Dawn sun streaks through the blinds and I would rather be sleeping
But I am reading, sipping echinacea lemon tea with honey
And remembering when I was ill as a child, terrified of the flu
I prayed Mom would stay home with me because
When I was sick she would be there there. And if she wasn’t
All I had to do was get a little sicker. I could call her
And she would let me watch TV on weekdays in a sleeping bag
While she ran to the store for popsicles and Saltines
Knowing she would return to pore over paperwork at the table
Or chat with her sister on the phone, hushing Kari’s sick
Checking on me when I didn’t get out of bed
One time she was still at work when I threw up and I cleaned
My own vomit off the sink. And cried because I wanted her there
To sit on the edge of my bed and smooth my hair
When she got home she said You didn’t have to do that, but I did
And I sank into her arms because breathing finally came easy again
Today I lie in a sleeping bag alone, writing poems and papers
Today I am an adult, taking care of myself
And missing my mother

Perhaps You Should Consider a Pet (a poem)

Today I played hooky. I wasn’t that sick

but I was sick enough to want to stay home

Pouring cups of lemon ginseng tea with honey into my scratchy throat that feels like anaphylaxis but it’s just the common cold

I read poetry that ignited a need to spread out my thoughts before me like an inventory of all the stones I’d picked up at the beach


Today I sat wrapped in layers of blanket and sweatshirt and tried to feel warm

I wasn’t lonely watching the wind rip the yellow leaves off the trees outside

No, today I felt fine, sketched a map of my future on the flipside of a bill I should have paid and mailed last night


Today the sun came down on the roof in slices like candy

And walking made me notice the hollowness of my own bones

As if each step sent an echo through my skeleton

I wasn’t lonely but I was alone


Today was made for wandering sidewalks and squares

Protected from the cold in soft coats and knit hats

A good day to wander alone and ponder

My therapist’s comment that perhaps I should consider a pet

If I’m so damn lonely