Haibun : Storm Warning

Drenched in rain, catch cold, run fever, cough outshouts thunder, ribs rattle like the windows after each thunderbolt. Wheezing whistling laboured breath like the wind outside. Each thunderclap like the rasp of the cough. Storm peaks, trees crash, electricity poles spark, lights go off, a great black cloud blankets the house from the ariel attack. As suddenly as it came the storm abates, inside me the storm goes on, three weeks of sleepless tormented nights, a turn in bed and the pulse races, breath comes in spasms, chest hurts, head aches, cough like distant thunder rumbles, grumbles on, threatening to deluge me.

He suggests cognac and we drink it with hot water and honey. Over cheese and crackers we laugh ourselves silly till the bronchospasm stops me in my tracks. Nothing helps, X-ray chest reveals white clouds on black, the cardiologist's sinister whisper over the abnormal whoosh of the echo, so unlike any sea except the troubled one inside me. Worst of fears confirmed need hospitalization, can't wait, the thrombus in the pulmonary artery might turn killer. The tide's racing in, the angry sea rising, breathlessly, I beg for eighteen hours grace before admission till my son's examinations are over.
An I.V. heparin line, a tributary to the turbulent sea and oxygen, the foam on that surf helps me breathe. Laughing through the mask, I fight the great black clouds of fear. Soon the clots start breaking up and moving freely in the lungs. Cough worsens, 'showers' they call them, outside a light refreshing drizzle, longing to be out there, barefoot in the rain, removing the mask I laugh and talk again, black clouds forgotten in the fragrance of wet earth.

now calm outside
still the cough
- storm warning

* Published in frogpond XX : 2


Copyright Angelee Deodhar,1997