Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The Shape of Dread

I wrote of The New Epicenter on New Year's Day 2021
In terror of what might befall my family in England
The onset of my sister's covidious symptoms
Came four days after she received her first dose
Of the AstraZeneca vaccine in February
Too late, in other words. 'Tis quite the pity

Up close and personal now, but unemotional, this nurse,
About the implications of this biological curse
"An occupational hazard", she quipped, of her profession,
She'd lost the race despite all of her precautions
Now it's up to medicine, luck, and her immune system
To face up to the struggle against the new variant

I can't describe the shape of my panic and dread
When she disclosed her condition. A shot to the head.
Oh no! My sister. And what about the boys?
Mother Nature, damn her, has dealt us this wild card.
Fear and worry were instantly etched in my heart.
Instead of sharing with her those light words and laughter
All I could offer across the ocean were thoughts and prayers.

Still, my heart also harbors a splinter of ice,
And I've stuck to my publishing schedule, with all that implies
All the while praying, as the days go on, and hoping against hope
That the macabre prophecy - I even mentioned a kind of hearse -
That I mooted in those stanzas of lyric verse
Wouldn't end up being a sort of obituary for my loved ones.
I've been sitting, paralyzed in fear for weeks now, a broken man.
I would gladly tear up these words, if only I could
To return to a different world but I realize that it would be no good.
Try as I can, to cut the Gordian knot of guilt and apply the knife
I'm also mindful that irony is the key register of African life.

digable planets

The Shape of Dread, a playlist


A soundtrack to leaven this ongoing horrow show

See previously: The New Epicenter

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time.


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