Laughing Sickness: Poems, by Kathleen Driskell

Love poems, story poems, poems happy and sad and angry: Kathleen Driskell moves as gracefully from lyric to narrative, from mood to mood, as an attentive mother guarding her children's sleep. There is a calm vibrancy to this book; even its darkest pages pulse with compassion. Kathleen Driskell is a wonder. So is Laughing Sickness.

~ Fred Chappell

                      by Kathleen Driskell

                      It was the first and only time I had seen it, the way
                      the eyes lose everything, become unholy,
                      become things. My dog, beloved, had traded
                      the exotic green sweetness of some neighbor's
                      discarded anti-freeze, unknowingly, for her life.
                      For a week, the young vet placated me,
                      telling me maybe, maybe, though he knew
                      there was no chance, but just pregnant
                      with our first son, I ordered the clear fluid
                      to continue pumping through her body because
                      I would have nothing of anything but life.
                      Now pregnant with our second child,
                      it is what I think of when I wake at night,
                      wondering how much the tests will reveal,
                      worried about again risking it all,
                      risking our three lives on this new life.
                      I remember the IV's final feeding:
                      I held her, good dog, watched her eyes,
                      not realizing how ready she was
                      to go, how readily she would go.
                      When we announced this second pregnancy,
                      friends and family offered not one wary word.
                      No one said consider what you already have,
                      what you are risking. As if there is only
                      one heart for all of us, now strong enough, rugged
                      enough to make room for
                      any sort of letting go.

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