Catarrh – Charles Rammelkamp

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In the steamroom at the gym,
I sit on a bench across from Mitchell,
who hawks a glob of mucus
like a wad of gum into his towel.

As the valves begin their hiss,
he murmurs, “catarrh.”

At first I think he’s said, “Qatar,”
and I wonder at the connection.
Mitchell clears his throat, a growl
like some sort of jungle animal.

Guessing what he might have said,
I think of the word “consumption,”
popular in old novels for “tuberculosis.”
I think the word ague; I think the wordcarbuncle.
I think the word morbilli.

About the contributor: Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Charles RammelkampBaltimore and Reviews Editor for The Adirondack Review. A chapbook of poems – Me and Sal Paradise, was recently published by FutureCycle Press.

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