The holiday season is almost here

Another mother poem: Fever



You're on fire beneath my lips,
hot as the coal that Moshe grabbed
when the angel forced his hand.
As we rock in the dark
I want to pray for healing
but I'm muddled with sleep.
I sing to you in two holy tongues.
You whimper. My eyes are closed
but I have known your face
since it first appeared, blurred
and grainy, on the ultrasound screen.
When I replace you on cool sheets
you cry out once and then curl
clutching yellow bunny in one hot hand.
The white noise machine croons.
What do your fever dreams show you?
How long will you remain a furnace,
incandescent in my arms
and exhausted from the burning?

This week's mother poem arises out of the experience of Drew's first summer virus. The opening lines are a reference to the midrash which says that Pharaoh resented the infant Moses and feared that Moses might someday seek to depose him. So Pharaoh placed a jewel and a hot coal in front of the baby, with the intention of killing him if he reached for the jewel (which would be a sign of his ultimate desire for Pharaoh's riches.) According to the story, an angel pushed Moshe's hand to the coal in order to save his life. When Moshe lifted it to his lips, he burned himself, which is why he was (as Torah tells us) slow of speech.

There's no need to worry about Drew, by the way; his high fever has broken, and while he's not quite his usual happy self, he's doing okay. (Now if only he would nap...)

This poem isn't written in response to this week's prompt at Big Tent Poetry, but here's a link to the "Come One, Come All" post so you can see what others wrote in response to this week's challenge.