The pain splatters my skin like the first
monster drops of rain before the torrents.
It happened so fast, I thought my shoe
must have trapped me on the railway track,
and before I had time to turn myself free,
an express train had run right over pancaked me.
As I stumbled through the front door, I had
to smile a moment, although it was hard to do,
thinking about my neighbors’ reaction to
my crazy weed-whacking job, my front lawn
chopped from the top to 5 feet from the middle,
from the bottom, 5 feet from the middle as well,
so what they saw was a wavy 10-foot middle patch,
an obvious sign of me honing my barbering skills,
this week’s lesson being the green grass mohawk.
I barely made it to my bed without collapsing,
then the next I knew it was midnight. I’d come out
of a dream that I’d been knocked off a boat by a whale’s tail
and was drowning, my body aching like Muhammed Ali’s
favorite heavy bag. I came to in soaked sheets
and pillowcases, stared horrified at an actual puddle
of sweat in the middle of my chest, a little man-made lake.
The last food I’d had was lunch at noon, but it would be three days
before I would even be able to eat a cracker.
The body pounding lasted two weeks, the chills three, fever four.
A month has passed, and my stamina is that of a little old man
unable to walk far without resting. But at least I still am recovering
from the worst flu of my life. I mean, if you’d asked me three weeks ago,
I’d have said I was going to die.