Judith Skillman

April Illness

Here in a daze of blossoms, socked in with the  illness.
Come April, cruelest month, etcetera. Far from family. Ill.
Why be filled with longing, head cold, inflammation—will
karma explain the accident that led to a bevy of illnesses?
All things being equal, things could be worse. As illness
brings sensibilities, sensibilities harbor the most acute ills.
To hear and see but give no voice to pain nor paint no hell
on earth—in this way a patient becomes patient with illness.
Sun warms the earth’s cedar beds, a convalescence from illnesses
bred by bare-limbed trees. The moon’s crescent rises, stills.
In all its dreams the boat rocks back and forth on water’s well.
O rower, hothouse flower, god who christened me with illness.
Destiny? God with a capital G? Incestuous or inbred? Where ills
don’t square, blame a poor messianic messiah for His illness.