Throwback Thursday: Excerpt from “Fever” by Joyce Carol Oates

Issue 22, 1994

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Skinny Americano, hair like broom sage, impurities in the blood. In the emergency room the glare stated with her though she kept her eyes closed. They worked in Spanish, they took off most of her clothing without her consent. She fainted again and revived. Something was taped to her chest, her heartbeat suddenly monitored, a rapid bleeping that allowed her to understand she was no longer responsible. A needle poked and jabbed in her arm, in the back of her left hand, something came stinging into her blood and set her dreaming. She was in a small boat made of aluminum. Her lover on the shore, straw hat, shirt outside his trousers like Lawrence in Italy, photographed squinting in the terrible sun. Her lover lifting a hand in greeting or in farewell.

You know I love you, he says, scolding. You know that.

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