After the Fever Lifted
by Al Gabor


All day Gertruda followed her father's wagon

as it scooped spuds from the ground.

Bucket after bucket she filled,

as heavy and hot

            as buried stars.

At night the fever gained

and she felt herself

grow crowded with light and grace.

Spirits whispered and the moon sang just for her

--it sounded a bit like crickets--

and she felt herself becoming an angel.


But instead of God,

the doctor showed his face.

A cold bath,  Tea with

ice.  Let her sleep all she wants.

She'll be fine.


A week of bed rest,

then back to following the plow,

the dirt beneath her nails

no longer grains of gold,

the pain behind her shoulder blades

strained muscles, not the buds

of wings.


The weight of everything

astonished her:

the clay bowl of bread dough,

the wet clothes she hung on the line.

her wool scarf, sodden with sweat, 

roped around her neck,


Years later, a woman  now and

far from the family farm,

she sometimes recalled the faint singing;

and, when lifting a child from her crib,

or setting a pot on the burner,

she felt astonished again

at the incessant

            earthbound pull.

Published in Cream City Review , Vol 16.