Leak and Fever

A Poem About How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

I worked all year, enough to finally take
Vacation days, a Christmas winter break,
Two weeks all told away from toil and code
To help my family bear the parenting load.
No sooner had I slept in that first day
Than th’ youngest did a fever all betray.
The winter, kids, what could there be to do?
At least with father home I’d help out, too.
A walk to Walgreens and the postal bin
To drop the cards and buy the medicine;
Along the way, the corner of our block,
The asphalt cracked, a trickle in the rock,
A burbling of water from the street
Was issuing, from nowhere, quite a feat.
We figured, maybe something cracked below
The surface, pushing upward, constant flow,
We ought to call the town, we separate said,
But, Christmas and the fever; no one did.
The fever and the families rolled on through
Our lives, without cessation, damn the flu;
The trips to church, the never-ending meals,
The crying child, the worry ever real,
“Don’t let the fever get too high,” for days,
Alarms at 3 and midnight, just in case;
We’d felt a dozen weeks by New Years Week,
And no one’d called the town about that leak.
Enjoy all this time off, my people said
As minivan with two sick kids was lade
To make the journey to their specialist,
It’s not the flu, he said. It never is.
The thirty first jackhammers woke the house;
A crew to cut the street where it’d been doused
Was at its work, the road blocked by police,
A final project ‘fore the New Year’s Eve.
The pipe, I guess, was sealed and buried back
And, just like that, the temperatures went slack
And all the kids felt fine, the pressure off,
The leak was fixed, and so too was the cough.
I thanked the crew. (In silence. In my mind.)
And wondered at the nature of the bind;
Was it the leak that waited for the kids
To heal before the fixers ‘ddressed the grid?
Or was the finished leak the thing it took
To vanquish out the virus, now forsook?
The work of days, my winter break a plight;
I walked back to the corner just last night
To see the patch, and see the justice done;
A car had o’er the new asphalt been spun
So permanently in th’ supposed fix
An ugly mark my downtime all depicts.
No rest then for the weary, I return
To work, to code, to make my way, to earn.


Two fever poems in a row! Being a parent is just a series of fever after fever, each one pretty scary. My oldest just last night convinced me to let her sleep in our bed because she’s scared of her room. I told her and told her that we wouldn’t let anything happen to you kids, but I felt doubt each time I said it. What can I do if there really are monsters? I can’t even do a pull-up.

Happy New Year, mailing list followers. I meant to do like a “these were my most popular poems of 2019” list and mail it out and try to get some clicks and hopefully convert some followers. But I got busy and lazy. Anyway, I’d like more people to be subscribed to this list, so I’d be much obliged if you could tell people to sign up on my behalf. Tell them about the free ebook. Tell them they’ll be the first to know about the next book, the Jurassic Park one.

Or don’t! I’m not your boss. Sales is not my forte.

Anyway, thanks for reading. If you reply to this email, I get the response, so drop me a line! It’s been a while.

This is Phil.


Photo by Luis Quintero from Pexels