Dec 9, 2010

only a cold

4:18 a.m.
the cough medicine's worn off.
the kitten pushes my cellphone
and coughdrops to the floor
then crawls between the quilts
down to where i fear he will smother.
do you notice when you smother?
you still breathe, just nothing with oxygen.
gently, i remove him,
trying to give no encouragement of play.
i wriggle under the pile of quilts
meant to warm me out of my coughing,
pull the flannel sheet over my cold ear
worry that i'll fall asleep
and choke to death on this cough drop.
a square of light races around the room
and is gone.
who is driving this road at 4:18?
someone who comes or goes to work
maybe at a hospital.
they arrive out of the dark
to hot coffee and people maybe donuts.
i smile to myself.
or maybe a breakfast cook
at the diner. or maybe a baker.
my breathing relaxes and deepens
at the thought of fresh baked bread.
oh it could be someone coming home
from making snow all night
for the ski trails on okemo or ascutney.
or a woman in labor! rushing through
the dark to the hospital!
i remember the strangeness of it all.
the kitten is back, curling by my knees.
i think of all the good cats we've had
sometimes three at once like warm sandbags
in the bed at night.
he will be a good one.
i can tell.


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