Rheumatic Fever

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Contributor: Kevin O'Donnell

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While goldfish fight in bowls on wooden benches I sit
among the youth with my shoes off and a common
cold. Some days you feel your years doubled, should I be
heavier or lighter on the third floor? Gravity never seems

to lose interest, a loving mother amongst the concrete pillars
and the hum of air-conditioned light, easing now at the start
of winter. I had risen early like a farmer needing to milk his cows,
a mouth dry from breathing and came to study. A student shrugs

into their jacket amid polished laptops, the parents
now unused fonts. One student speaks into a phone
in a foreign language, soft modulating tones, as though
giving directions to a stranger’s house or how to back

a car in a narrow alley, the sunlight orange on
the highest building while the youngest daughter
sits thin and heavy, listening to her distant brother’s voice,
a saint Jude’s valve needed for an uneven heart.

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Kevin O'Donnell has been writing for a few years and completed a Masters In Creative writing at the IIML at Victoria University, New Zealand.


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