the eighth plague of egypt

at 9:36 PM on a Wednesday
my phone whined like a petulant cicada –
(you know the ones, about to croak
in the parched Gobi of August,
about to scatter their carcasses on sidewalks)

I should have guessed from the plaintiveness
of that cellular trill
that it could only be you
traveling back from wherever you were hidden
behind the trees or the reeds or the drums
to smirk knowingly at my ghost.

and the nausea rose up my throat
and the blood rushed through my veins –
my first instinct was to mistake illness for love.
(You know the kind, that causes toes to
pop upward in a disney dream,
about to smother your realities with so much wishing)

and I realized that most of what I felt with you
was not anticipation,
but fear.

sheer.
deadly.

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