Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Jaunty Cap

We thought it was a short visit
For a cranky baby. He was groaning,
Hot, and not himself. Like a
Nightmare, the day unrolled.

The fever spiked high, with no
Symptoms but those groans.
The doctor suspected meningitis.
Awful struggle to make a spinal tap
In a six-week, too-small spine.

And suddenly, we were heading
To the hospital, "for observation."
In a far-off lab's petri dish, our sample
Would germinate for three long days.

My clingy-needy child torn
From my clingy-needy arms
By grim-faced nurses.

Behind closed doors, away
From appalled parental eyes,
They installed the needle for IVs
In that tender scalp,
Protected by an upturned coffee cup.

In self-defense, we named it
Joe's jaunty cap.

Betsy McKenzie 5/24/2012


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