The Epileptic, by Jehanne Dubrow

The Epileptic
~Jehanne Dubrow


Conversations with him are like waiting for thunder. Between the long pauses, she pours herself another cup of tea.  If this is marriage, then it’s a mystery—those pills he takes for headache, for instance, and when he claims the afternoon is the smell of rotten fruit.  Sometimes he sees the air as yellow lines.  Objects grow small or very large, depending on his sleep.  This has happened before, he says.  He says, I’ve never seen your face before.  At parties, everyone waits while he stares into the middle distance of a room, at the vase perhaps, or the pink hibiscus blooms. You’re a stranger, he says.  And she agrees.  They lie without touching for weeks.   Only later, when she leaves, does she learn the name for this disorder.  All the transient signs:  the pale halo of secrets around him. 


Jehanne Dubrow is the author of four poetry collections, including most recently Red Army Red (Northwestern UP 2012).  Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and Crazyhorse, among others. She is the Director of the Rose O’Neill Literary House and an assistant professor of creative writing at Washington College.


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