Two nights ago I argued with a man
tall as the ceiling, jagged teeth filthy
and piercing, standing over my son
intent on stealing his breath
racing his heart, charring his fevered brain.
The man seeped into my blood while
I fought him and clutched my gut
crawling to the bathroom and back
the frozen tile singeing my skin
pulling me down, whispering things.
He opened his coat trenched, his death
reeking, his heart frozen, and I cursed him.
Casually he hung himself by his feet
over my son’s bed leaning towards hell
he looked me straight in the eyes and dripped,
My son’s face pale, circles ashing his eyes,
turned toward my touch, my body draped
over his IV arm, blood backed up the tube
his machine wailing, my skin flaming
when the nurse came with a gurney for me.
I was fire, embers pouring into my son
as I talked in tongues,
“Leave my son alone, you bastard.”
I begged the nurse to unlash the man,
banish him or for the man to take me in my son’s
place and the hallway was fury
rushing by me and me yelling
that the nurse had never seen a killing.
She whispered but not to me,
“It’s just a virus.” My arm was cold
with a calm, soft and edgeless
when my own wailing machine took over
and sent me away. I would rather have killed
the man with my bare hands instead of
just with these words.