The Sun Rising
Trips to Walmart are comforting
because they’re so predictable.
Everything’s in the same place.
There’s always a kid crying over a toy his mother won’t let him buy.
I always get the cart with the squeaky wheel.
I always get the slow check-out lane.
I never see anyone I know.
It’s like they’re all too cool to go to poor, lowly Walmart.
But this time—the boy!
I saw him emerge from the video game section,
and he saw me. The smile that burst upon his face
was brilliant like the sun rising,
but completely unpredictable.
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Once the hallucinations stopped,
packed the fever into carry-on bags,
and took it with them,
I began to recover.
The first thing I ate that wasn’t soup
was a fortune cookie.
The tiny slip of paper inside read,
“School is a building that has
four walls with tomorrow inside.”
School, I thought. My heart swelled
with how much I had missed it.
But it was Friday
by the time I recovered.
I’d have to face the weekend:
two tomorrows outside of school.
I pasted my fortune to the inside cover
of one of my notebooks
and circled “School.”
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Staying in Bed
Crushed under covers,
mounds of pillows supporting my head,
I spent the next few days
Ghosts glimmered with hallucinatory colors as
they wandered the corridors of my mind.
I vowed I would describe
every image, but I could not lift my arm.
Instead I imagined a voice recorder
inside my head, taking every dream
onto a narrow ribbon of black, shining tape.
When the fever broke and fell apart
in beads of sweat,
the voice recorder broke too.
Its shining tape spooled into an inky puddle around me.
Then I could
lift my arm
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