Invasion is not a metaphor for the virus
and it is not how my country invades. I open
a window to let weather in. A river nearby
flows over weather as weather invades
weather. It is not a metaphor for rain but
how one can be entrapped by the fist
of another. Quarantine, named for the
forty days alone thought to cure us, Jesus
who fasted forty days in the desert. Jesus
I’ve been hit so hard my ears rang over
the broken pinky bone all night. Alone
with the fist on one side of life, a bug on
the other. Water runs faster over smooth
plastic than rough stone, never mind the
one part per billion trimers. Man makes
the weather a race to beat while time has
made me scared. An invisible thumb on
my trachea, a wrench in my skull. I slide
my fingers past my waistband to the cliff edge
beneath I call I. I move my fingers to the
optimism of the lake outside my window.
That it is blue. That it is blue phosphorous
runoff, blue algal blooms, blue tumored
muskrats slick in blue chemical afterlife.
The terrors of skin between me dried fungus
unable unable. Locked in a room by myself
as a girl, I did it on purpose. I closed myself
into the wooly carpet, turned off the lights
and sat as a pilgrim over her vial of cyanide.
I slept with my body pressed to the door.
What defines the loss of will but this:
that I did not care for anyone to let me go.
They Do Not Eat Until They Cleanse Themselves
The triumph of the wicked is short, but the poor
rot in their earnings. Scarves wrapped to protect
against malignant atmosphere, a blue silk taken
from my grandmother’s chest, nose pressed to its
mildews. It is prophesied that I will live through
one phthisic future. The couch holds me like an
indifferent mother and I didn’t want to say this.
Because I can never get past the first holy book
I see only the Gospels as good storytelling men
who pierce me with tender precision. There is no
agony in John, no garden in Mark. Synoptic, as in
we live each day with awful care. Scarves wrapped
to protect against malignant men, a yellow polyester
discarded on a bench, pink spray paint striping an
Aquafina bottle. The triumph is short but long, as in
a human life coiled in repose. My brother coughs
bloody phlegm in the grass, in need of its smell
and I didn’t want to say this. Because self-abandonment
is a novel being written, the drip that detaches my
uncle from his metastasis, and it feels wrong here
to confess the swift suicide drilled into my dreams.
No garden in Mark so I text a Mark with a garden,
a signal of my loneliness. I lay alone unable to stand
and I think of the John who crept his hand under my
shirt and the John who feigned sleep, his head in my lap.
Every Matthew and Luke posed before comatose
cheetah. My stomach stews with pinot, an apology of grief.
I touch my face and respire. I touch my face and respire.