Monday, September 20, 2010

Welcome to Autumn in the Northland

The brisk September has offered the Matron and her family its usual bluster and blow: crisp mornings and cold houses, rooms that were once hot now requiring slippers and long sleeves. The month also introduces the entire state to the Head Cold (aka Cough or Sniffles) who will never quite leave until April, simply changing form and crouching in dark corners, waiting to retool and leap again. Head Cold is a seamless entity -- if not nestled solidly in your own house, he is visiting the neighbor until it is time to cross the street and slip through your window, again.

Head Cold has its fingers on the Matron's face (sinuses, chest, bleary eyes) and is threatening to take the shape of Cough for awhile; he (because Head Cold is definitely not a woman) is also toying with Scarlett and delicately dancing around Merrick's pale frame. The Matron imagines Head Cold a thin veil, spread between her family, in various stages of advance and retreat for the next few months.

Head Cold, in honor of your annual autumn arrival, one of the Matron's favorite poems:


Life With Sick Kids

One child coughs onnce
and is sick for nearly eight weeks, then the other child coughs so
hard he nearly vomits, three weeks, and then
stops and the first child cuoghs a first cough,
and then the other delicately and dryly begins to cough,
death taking them up and shaking them
as kids shake boxes at Christmas. So in bed on the
third day of the blood when it would be
almost safe to use nothing,
just a tiny door left open for a resourceful child,
I cannot see or feel or smell you, I keep
thinking I hear the unconceived one
cough a little introductory cough.

Sharon Olds

4 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

This sums it up--I ache for those poor sick families. Ours generally isn't, but I never take it for granted.

kcinnova said...

Whether it is due to the arrival of Autumn, or the nights of staying up until 1am (or even later!), or the heavy load of coursework, or the daily miles pounded out with steadfast feet -- regardless, Head Cold has moved in with my high school senior.

Daisy said...

Shhhh. My daughter has a cold and cough. I'm drinking Airborne and hugging my Neti pot and hoping against all hope that life goes on without sniffles and fever.

Anonymous said...

This poem hit WAY too close to home and I want to run screaming away from it! Yes , we are all sick here with respiratory plague. It has moved beyond a head cold and straight to "This sucks!" Bramble