it's been a long month-and-a-half
by t. zoey benally

i had one super productive week right after the fair
when i look back at that week in my calendar, warm fuzzies
swarm up from the depths of my normally cold, dark heart
not really--my heart is really just a muscle bent on pumping blood
but i did get a lot done that week, resting heart rate 65 BPM

soon after this it started getting cold, but i continued to read
Salvato, the environmental health specialist bee-eye-bee-el-E
yep, that's the book to read when you need to know about everything
from Plasmodium vivax to flushometer valves to oligotrophic lakes
faithfully transported in my red Jansport, four miles each day

it was soon after the night temperature drop that i developed
my very first UTI, i dutifully ignored the symptoms and downed
cranberry juice along with my normal Surgeon General recommended
sixty-four ounces of tincture o' swirling dog, hoping that it would
just go away--but bacteria will not be ignored

i dropped significant other off at San Juan College that Saturday
the kids and i split for swimming and sushi in Durango
we swam for hours, writing messages in mineral bubbles congregated
on our arms and legs, stewed with friendly folks speaking German
the kids taught me to side stroke, i swam two pool lenghts and back

after eating sushi, we were summoned back to New Mexico, somewhere,
sometime i noticed a fine scratch feeling, behind my left ear in my hair
again i ignored the scratch feeling, i collected my best friend
and we went to watch a movie, i also watching him drink soda
while sipping my two dollar bottled water, no soda since May

Wedensday, five days after Durango, i woke up and trekked four thousands
steps southwest across Shiprock to work next to a capped tailings pile
10AM my back felt like it was going to break in half, i had to hold my breath
to keep tension, to keep muscles from collapse, my body from folding
in half, a dry deteriorating straw, cracks on fold corners, holes, useless

i survived, 103.5 degree Fahrenheit night, when i sat up, my daughter
noticed my face was all red, rash crawled down my neck
settled on my torso, then proceeded down my arms and legs
i scratched a spot on my back, blood pooled under the skin
in too-heavy-bag carrying streaks, but i had made it, i was alive

11 days later i finished Salvato, again we had sushi, but for dinner
this time, and in ABQ, not CO, a benefit of daylight savings time
is an extra hour of study! which i did with Starbucks and a blueberry
muffin--brain food! two-hundred-ten minutes flew buy, filling circles with a
a small well used number 2 pencil snatched from my son's school box

the past two weeks has been spent waiting for and receiving results
results of samples taking in October, brain and blood, processed
blood came back positive for Rickettsia rickettsii, brain performance
samples have not come back as of yet, i called last week, but they said
please wait at least four weeks for test results....

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