Lay Me Down with Jesus

by Akim Reinhardt

The Second Line Tradition of the New Orleans Jazz Funeral - SevenPonds BlogSevenPonds BlogDeath was already about me. I’d recently written two death songs. Not mournful, but peaceful and welcoming. No reason. They just seeped out of me. Then came the Covid infection. It must’ve found me in upstate New York while vacationing with friends.

At first, I assumed it was just those damned seasonal allergies. As bad as they’ve ever been. But then it took a turn. When the thermometer read 100.2 F, I called it a night quite a bit earlier than usual. I wouldn’t open my eyes again for nearly a dozen hours. After finally crawling from the bed, I stumbled into the bathroom and reached for one of those free government test kits. Swab, spin, drip, wait. The incriminating line was a bold streak of bright red. I’m staring at it right now, having kept it as a memento.

By then the fever had broken, but the other symptoms were raging. Body aches. Serious fatigue. A dry cough. Each time my chest convulsed it triggered a momentary splitting headache. My nostrils felt raw, like they were or burning, even though I’d barely blown my nose. The overripe banana didn’t taste like much of anything. The dark chocolate was very intense. Aside from the brief fever, the worst of it lasted 48 hours. Then Jesus came to me. Read more »