I have to get this down.
I write until my hand gives out: L… A…
I name you. I call you back from oblivion.
They call you a madwoman – I know you. That’s not you.
I call you back to yourself, and you endure.
You return from the dead.
I sent your man away, then called to him in dreams.
The Pestilence won’t touch him – but fever gets me
among the flower pots on the veranda. I sleep. Strange.
It does not matter. What matters is: you’re safe.
You’re loved. You are yourself again,
and the two of you return to civilization.
That’s how your story will resolve –
“The story concluded by Walter Hartright,” he says.
(Your story will not be told by you.)
“The story of what a Woman’s patience can endure,
and a Man’s resolution can achieve.”
Civilization still hasn’t found any trace of me.
But he is a good man,
and will make a happy bride of you.
My fever was powerful – I was wetted through –
but it cooled and resolved. All fevers do.
I will lift up your child and I will name him, too.
Katie Naum is a writer in Brooklyn with a background in sustainability. She may be found as @naumstrosity on social media, and is currently at work on a memoir.