by James Crews

A fever, a freakout, a lesion-like spot newly risen

and the frenzied drive to the clinic for a cheek-swab,

negative, on our anniversary no less. Now dozing

lover, I promise never to compare this labored

breathing with the dusk the cicadas’ so-called singing

hangs over this day. I will make of our useless

plague-fear a blanket and drape it across the bare

shiver of your shoulders where the last, thinning pages

of sunlight stretch like blank vellum. I won’t trace

celebration or wasted in Vaporub on the faltering

rise and fall of your chest. Which is to say, though I

have cancelled the reservations and postponed the party,

we will make the most of this, make do, and maybe

love too, later, if you’re in the mood. For now, I will

let you seduce me with sleep-sounds that always say,

his, his. As long as the cicadas, those noisemakers, keep

strumming their complicated timbals into annual

need, these twin plastic men holding hands in tuxedoes

on top of the tiered white cake in the fridge will keep

waiting as if for their slow waltz to begin.

James Crews holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has appeared in Columbia, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Best New Poets 2006 and 2009 as well as other journals. He was the recipient of the 2009 Copperdome Chapbook Prize from Southeast Missouri State Press for What Has Not Yet Left and another chapbook, One Hundred Small Yellow Envelopes, based on the life and work of artist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, was recently published by Parallel Press. He currently works as a “do-gooder” in Portland, Oregon where he writes almost exclusively about the rain.