The Illness

Christine Garren

At the back of the house in Lincolnton
is the room where I was ill,
where my bed overlooked the autumn yard
with a low impermanent wall of leaves—
where I stared through my fever past it
to the neighbor’s thorny trellises.
No one much came to visit
though something sat briefly by my bed. It was human figured,
but looked vaporous
and had a soft white column for a spine. When I tried to touch it
I found it was made of air.
Then, I was not afraid. It was late October. I was young.
Too young to be afraid, as now
I am afraid.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro
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CHRISTINE GARREN is the author of two poetry collections, Afterworld (University of Chicago, 1993) and Among the Monarchs (University of Chicago, 2000). She has been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and has served as Kenan Visiting Writer at University of North Carolina.