Pandemic Poetry

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It seems unlikely that I’ll die
strapped to a chair,
a woman with slicked back hair
demanding the codes
to the safe or the encryption key
that links names with faces
hidden in data bases underground.

Yet, still I carry your cough
within my cough,
your fever within my fever,
your death within
my lack of death.

Each morning now, I wake
and take stock of my ache,
my wind chime bones,
the hoarse hollow cold
creeping into my throat.

I count the days since
last I shivered
and touched a stranger’s palm.
And the myriad fractures
of time and hands and time and hands,
faces moving between sheets
between masks between sheets,

and isn’t everyone a secret agent
being tortured slow
to give up
someone else’s name,
to breathe the word
virus into the word me,
washing hands
in some basement we’ll never see,
we just wait
until we hear it,
whispered from behind.

Written by

Provocative truth teller, author of 14 poetry collections. Cat dad. Dog dad. Currently working from Portland, Oregon. Learn more at:

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