Dragon’s Tail

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It’s the dark of the moon. There is no reflected light on the lunar face, so near is the moon to the sun approaching a new cycle. New moon arrives before midnight tomorrow here on the west coast, a partial solar eclipse conjoining the headless serpent’s tail.

Is it Karma, you ask, this purging new moon?

Perhaps. It is certainly mystery, detachment, and otherworldly desire.

When I called the nurse to describe my symptoms–growing fever, headache from a sledge hammer to the back of my head, weakness and fire in my joints–it was as I feared. She confirmed I was coming down with the same pox from which my young son recently recovered. If you become deranged or out of your mind, she said, you will need to be hospitalized. You are old. It’s the fever. It will infect your brain. Encephalitis. I was 32 years old.

I called my mother to ask if I ever had chicken pox. She recalled measles, but demurred on the pox. It’s only chicken pox, which sounds light and frivolous and cowardly, contracted a few months before vaccines became widely available. I called my son’s father to come take him before I sank under the fever sea and rode the foam.

There’s a pox scar atop my third eye.

Author: Kim K. McCrea

Kim K. McCrea earned her BA in English before embarking on a career in technology and public service. Kim won Oregon Writers Colony 2018 essay award, Treefort’s 2017 Wild West Writing Prize, and was named runner-up in Cutbank 2018 Big Sky/Small Prose contest. Her creative nonfiction is featured in Cutbank, Tishman Review, Cagibi, and elsewhere; she is the author of the novel Pandora's Last Gift. A native of the Pacific Northwest, Kim lives in Oregon, where she studies the moon and stars and wanders with her Labrador in the rain.

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