Plague Poems #10
Plague Poems #12

Plague Poems #11

All it takes
is going out to do the laundry
and some fool there,
unmasked and ungloved,
folding his clothes
on the table,
or my super,
cheerful and oblivious
of physical distancing
starting to fix the dryer
right next to the one
I’m unloading
while my back is turned—
and every follicle of my hair
is filled with invisible fire ants,
my tongue and lips
burning like I’ve eaten jalapeños,
an itch like poison ivy
consumes my face and hands.
If I were an anxious person
this would be hell,
but I manage to shake it off
knowing I cannot actually feel something
measured in nanometers
invading my cells.
I worry, not that I’m a hypochondriac—
after all, the threat is real, the symptoms
varied and changing—but that others aren’t.
Worry more, I want to tell them.
Better to become temporarily neurotic,
afraid of outside, and germs, and
touching others, of going out without a mask,
of others standing too close, and to be
constantly washing everything,
than to bring
Death home with you
for a visit.
When it’s over,
better we all have a few scars
than holes
in our lives.
‒April 30, 2020, Brooklyn
©Lee Kottner, 2020


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