Suzanne Richardson

Valley Fever

After it was done, I put a shirt on,
a fungus grows in the spine.
Valley Fever. Father is dying;

might die.
I took a sip, asked him what he did
some story here—
a funeral home,
a hearse,
a flesh eating disease, and

a mask just in case.
He says: People don’t die like they used to.
He means: You’re alive, so touch me.
Valley Fever lodges in the lung,
a sporophyte in the heart, skin, bones.
I do things, to myself

fertilize my own pain with him.
Let the gametes meet with him.
He walked me to my car,
let his mouth bloom over mine.
Once, he worked inside a freezer
in an ice cream shop,
and it made him cold.
He raised an eyebrow—
what was my excuse?

I reach out for him,
then let him go.
What happens when you only do things once?
After him, I was hidden,

unbeautiful, concave. The reason
I’m disintegrating,
a reason I might disintegrate.


Return to Volume 6.4






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