Poem: In Fever

By Sheryl Paul


In my four year old’s feverish state

We slip between the worlds together.

I, the island, and he the little boat who

anchors himself to my shores,

his small hot limbs wrapped around me as

if I am his tree of life.


Which I am,

and he mine,

and together we swim through the currents,

sometimes close, sometimes holding the space that

rises up to meet each stage of independence.

But tonight I will not let him go.


He reaches for me in sleep,

the fever stirring delirious words from

his lips and quaking his limbs.

I soothe every one.

I hold him and whisper,

“I’m here.

You’re safe.

I love you.”

He won’t remember any of it in the morning.

Motherhood is not a love letter

reciprocated by an ardent lover.

There will be no thank-you cards or gifts left

on the breakfast table.

No, the satisfaction runs much deeper than that.

It’s in knowing that

as he navigates those narrow places that

fever invites,

he never traveled alone.

I am here as I have always been here as I will always be here,

walking the invisible lines with him

until he can walk them on his own.


Tonight is not for sleep.

It’s for pressing my cool cheek against his hot forehead,

my breath a gentle wind across the desert of his skin,

my shoulder his pillow,

my body his tree,

my heart radiating a map of comfort that

he will remember

for the rest of his life.



About Sheryl Paul

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide via her private practice, her e-courses and programs, her books, and her website, http://conscious-transitions.com. She has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show”, as well as on “Good Morning America” and other top television, radio, and newspapers around the globe. Her home study course for pregnant women and new mothers, Birthing a New Mother: A Roadmap from Preconception Through the First Year to Calm Your Anxiety, Prepare Your Marriage, and Become the Mother you Want to Be, can be found at http://birthinganewmother.com. She lives in Boulder, Colorado where she and her husband homeschool their two sons.

One thought on “Poem: In Fever”

  1. Thank you. That was beautiful, it made me cry, and I hope I will remember to do that for my children the next time they are sick.

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