8th Month

It’s the heat, though,
No one mentions.
An elemental, indisputable physical fact
Jabbing chlorine and sumac
Into breasts and thighs
(I’d only seen in anthropological museum dioramas)
Now hanging indulgently, grotesquely
inside my pale, striped skin.

Each remedy links past and present discomforts into a thorned wreath
Mechanically clicking, turning, a cog
In a watch
Counting seconds until
The sickness returns and passes
The itching returns and –
The fatigue –
Burning

I ice myself, stripped of hair, of skin
Lay, naked, in the FrigidAir
(Do not touch me)

Don’t speak of sleep deprivation or your
Inconveniences.

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