and the first cold of the season.
I’ve been coughing all week,
my sore lungs bitten
by the sharp autumn air
the same way that skin blisters
in the heavy light of summer.
My daughter lies next to me
in a small heap on the slipcovered sofa.
I watch her muscles twitch
under a restless hedge of sleep,
her body tightened and flattened
by the violent throes of the stomach flu.
Outside the living room window,
the solitary oak tree in our neighbor’s yard
looks as though it’s been dipped
head-first into a can of crimson paint,
red on top but still green on the bottom.
I wonder why the body is slower to adapt
to the weight of change, why the heart
is slower to comprehend what the head has known
for so long, and why,
like the leaves, so much must happen
before we are ready to fall
from the branches that bore us,
to trust the air that slowly
carries us down.
Libby Kurz holds a BS in Nursing from UNC-Charlotte and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. Her work has appeared in The Poet’s Billow, Relief Journal, Driftwood Press, Literary Mama, Ruminate, and The Hunger. A veteran of the US Air Force, she now resides on the coast of Virginia with her family. She works part-time as a registered nurse in the operating room and teach creative writing workshops through The Muse Writers Center and the Armed Services Arts Partnership in Norfolk, VA.