Double, Double

Double, Double

Steve Deutsch

My doctor said
he could find nothing
wrong.
The symptoms—
extremities on fire
pinprick pain
in my face
and chest
were merely
occasional
and not all
that worrisome.
He didn’t believe
the sleepwalking
was new.

I was new
then to teaching.
High School calculus
for fifteen gifted students.
We cruised through
to double integrals
and April
when interest waned
and even my best students
seemed lovesick
and dull.
I doubled down—extra
homework, special assignments
and frequent quizzes.
and the dullness
turned to testiness.
But I was new to this.
What could I know?

One May night
I woke to a full moon
over the town square.
My legs were blistered
to my knees
and my right eye
unfocused.
The wire trash bin
was burning blue
and around the edge
were fifteen effigies
of me—
crude clay makings
with blackened legs
decorated with straight pins.

Somewhere
nearby
young voices
were chanting.
An owl hooted
and the hair on my head
stood on end.

I was gone
before first light.
I didn’t pause to pack.

Steve Deutsch

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