COVID-19 poem

82,404

The latest count of infected here on this land of plenty

Times two—one hundred sixty-four, eight hundred and eight. 

This many lungs pulling fur in the sac instead of air, we pant for hours, we gulp in infected skies

The rest of us hold our breath—the spores in the air in  flown sputum from careless sneezes, at rest, waiting like a predator, still, gently sleeping on the surfaces—

jump

up on your face from your ignorant hand. 

The artists render a kind of cute animatronic ball with faulty spikes. I love the way he looks so clean and video-game happy—colored volatile and greedy-starved for cells. They inoculate us with more of themselves, the ultimate narcissistic organism, maybe even beating us, humans at our own game. 

The mindless thrust of the word, pandemic, the endless news heads spewing some facts, some figures some fiction, 

numbers roll up and mutate into people, gathered in tiny units, the rest of the humans are danger, stranger danger, stranger and stranger.

My mind like a stalked balloon can’t hold the trauma

Of desperate breathers without the sustenance of joy

The despair decays something inside us but the impulse

to help

 to reach

   the pained and dying, foiled by enforced distance.

I think of Mother Theresa and the lepers, the photo

Of the hands, reaching and patting and loving her through touch.

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