My teenage daughter tells me that my roasted red pepper soup is totally sick,
meaning, in her vernacular, delicious.
My politics, apparently, are also sick, as my lit survey student suggests
after witnessing my zeal for Civil Disobedience,
meaning, in this case, off-beat.
Sometimes migraine or the pangs of middle age cause me to regress
to an inner cry of the childish, Oh, Momma, I feel so sick –
which is to say, in need of pity.
And when a student calls my office one morning moaning into his cell phone
as he vomits into a toilet in some shabby apartment somewhere,
his own or a friend’s, (neither of us at this moment can be sure),
his words, I can’t come to class because I’m sick, indicate,
I’m almost certain, hung over.
And all I know at that instant is that something in me would like to be there
with that boy, holding his head as he empties himself
into some grimy toilet, sweat glowing on his chilled,
fever-pink boy’s cheeks.
Something in me—emptied, blue, and daring—longs to be somewhere not here,
out where zealots march and rant, out where young men pass out
and awaken not knowing quite what happened,
only that they will not make it to class, but remembering, at least,
that they must call.
Something in me, too, calling—sending out a distress signal
from an unmapped ocean of longing, surely a sickness,
but also so familiar, so intense
that it is sweet and, somehow, delicious.

About the Author:
Georgia Kreiger lives in Western Maryland, where she teaches creative writing and literature at Allegany College of Maryland. She is the 2011 recipient of the Backbone Mountain Review Prize for Poetry, and her poems have appeared in Earth’s Daughters, The 2River View, poemmemoirstory (PMS), The Orange Room Review, Poet Lore, and others.

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