(Third in a three part sequence)

by Michael Levan

Four days this time before they discharge her, / four days of constant care he doesn’t have to account for, / heavy lifting done by professionals. No fear about medication timing or machines’ alarms / he’s too afraid to investigate. He helps her / across the threshold and toward their bed, but she wants to feel / normal. She checks email, elbows set on the desk’s edge / and hands cradling her cheeks. He gives her time / to be herself, tells her to call him when she’s done, and goes about his early evening. / 


                                                                        When later she whimpers his name, he expects nothing / more than a trip to the bathroom, her giving in to sleep. / Instead she shows him Google results: My HG didn’t stop until / my son was born; Becoming pregnant should be a joy, / but those women who suffer from Hyperemesis, it becomes something more akin to a nightmare; / I was drowning in my illness; / Many patients find relief much later than twelve weeks into their pregnancies; / I sobbed with no one around me, as I had so many days / of the nine months I suffered, struggled to survive my own body.... /            


                                                She says she can still smell his mistake, / the house’s fire-damage rot, the tap water she’s sipping, too. / What if this never ends? she asks and hiccups into tears. / He says, It will. You’re not like those women, which he believes / because he must. He moves to her, takes hold of her / before she pushes away. Your cologne, she says as she turns back / to the screen, so many more stories to fill her fear.

Also by Michael Levan:

1. Routine
2. Telling #2

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