Head Cold

Sometimes it’s like snot is Amazon’s
fastest moving holiday item and the only factory
in all of North America is in my skull. And then
my lungs turn into a vast warehouse, storing

all the phlegm for an entire nation. Enough
to get us through two, possibly three winters.
And my ears, Jesus God, my ears get so
clogged with gunk I literally can’t hear right.

Everything that isn’t shouted at me gets
met with, “Hah? What?” It’s fucking ridiculous.
So this happens, and I break
out the Neti pot and irrigate my skull

like it’s sitting next to the Ganges, and I drop
hydrogen peroxide in my ears and listen to the fizzy,
catalatic buffet that runs in the background
of every nightmare. After a week of this,

I’m feeling worse, not better, so I call my doctor
and she can see me the next day–
an actual Christmas miracle!
So I’m in her exam room, and she’s shoving

her little pokey flashlight thing into all my face holes
and she says, “What about your ears? Is there congestion
in your ears?” And I tell her of course there is
and I’ve been doing the peroxide thing for five days

and she says, “Okay, well stop doing that,” and I ask
why and she says, “Your ears are immaculate.
You could hold a masquerade ball in them
and it’d be delightful.” She tells me everything

between my liver and eyeballs is infected
and she writes me a prescription, gives me
a lollipop, and sends me home, where I sleep
for the next sixteen hours. I wake up

start the day right by irrigating the fuck out of
my skull, but this time I get the water as hot
as I can stand it, and I can really feel it work
as it washes through my right nostril, around my eyes,

and out my left nostril, followed by a shower
of glistening angel hair pasta. I will never again eat
angel hair pasta. I turn on the shower, again
as hot as I can deal with, and let the steam

cook my skull like an Irish cabbage. I step out
stand before the mirror to see seven feet
of fully cooked lobster. Sitting on the bed, I
open the nightstand drawer, and look over

the dozen or so bottles of pills, standing
in the drawer like tiny round skyscrapers
in yellow and orange – my medication metropolis.
I take my antibiotic, Sudafed, and Vitamin

C for the sickness, the Lisinopril for the high
blood pressure, the Indapamide for the swelling
in my ankles, the B12 for energy, three fish oil
pills to help with cholesterol, a combo pill of B12,

B6, and something called folate, which keeps the blood
sugar in line, Vitamin D for the prostate, and a Kale pill
for— I have no idea what the Kale pill is for,
but I take it and swallow the entire haul

with a giant glug of juice. I feel total
blockage in my right nostril, grab a Kleenex,
and blow – whoosh thump – what hits the Kleenex
is heavy, like a soft bullet, and I’m appalled by

the speed with which it hit the tissue
and by myself. I get up, grab some socks
from the clean pile and I feel another round
in the chamber. Another Kleenex, another

whoosh thump. I put on
one       fucking       sock.
Kleenex. Whoosh thump. This happens
five more times before I finish dressing, my skull

is now a battleship and we are at war, a platoon
of sailors loading new snot torpedoes into tubes
every minute, minute and a half. When this
finally stops, I feel every       particle       of dust

I breathe in as it lands on my brain. I can smell the pet
dander in my neighbor’s house, the humidity in Colombia
I can smell God’s aftershave. And a few hours later
whoosh thump.


Tim Hatch lives in a secret volcano headquarters somewhere in the South Pacific, where he controls the world economy and writes confessional poetry about his disappointing childhood.

His poetry has been published in MungBeing, East Jasmine Review, The Pacific Review, The Vehicle, Touch: The Journal Of Healing, Apeiron Review, and he is the recipient of the 2014 Felix Valdez Award.

He finds writing about himself in the third person to be an overtly seductive invitation to tell lies.

He once captured a French Eagle at Talavera.

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