Cribbed and Counting

Anna Wagner

IMAGE:  Jack Dunnett

Anna Wagner is a graduate from Hamline University’s Creative Writing Program. Her work has previously been published in Fulcrum Journal 

and Eastern Iowa Review with nominations for Best of the Net, Best American Essays, and a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Minnesota and wishes it was sunny everyday.

We sit on the bed, cribbage pieces

replaced with paper clips, and the board lies

 

between us.

There is a sun sinking

behind the curtains, a sky

we haven’t touched

 

for eighteen days.

I almost forget

we are sick.

Fifteen two,

fifteen four,

fifteen six.

 

We try to tame fevers like red foxes.

They run for weeks, and I think

 

about pressing our burning bodies

together. To be over

two hundred degrees,

which is enough

 

to deactivate

a different

sickness. I reach

for any answer.

Pyrexia isn’t meant

to last

 

like this. He counts his crib while I count

Tylenol tablets. We wash them down

 

with lemonade we can’t taste.

A symptom named

ageusia. Another game

we’ve had to play

 

for eighteen days.

I almost forget

we are sick.

Fifteen two,

fifteen four,

fifteen six.

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