This morning, a cold, gray dawn, a cry of gulls, reminds me I am on an island, twelve miles long, nine miles wide, sold to the Dutch by the native Indians for $26 worth of trinkets. A little ship of death, stuck between two rivers facing a dark Atlantic.
This morning, gray and wet, is most pleasant. I gather my attention span around me, like a tattered robe of many colors, resting upon my shoulders, as I sip my first cup of coffee. I have no choices to make, no commitments, I have enough supplies (a gentle cough). I wait for a signal.
Was that a normal cough? A simple clearing of the throat? Or the harbinger of an unknown fate? Or are you one of the serendipity sisters, who wants to use my voice, a siren-song, an opening salvo, from Covid Symptomatic, Inc. Covid rhymes with Ovid. No more of that. That way madness lies. No more of that.
I breathe deep into chest cavity, stretching the diaphragm to capacity, deeper into the pelvic floor, release…I inhale rapidly, in and out, until I feel the warm gases in my body creates a humming sensation in hands, face, feet…I sing the vowels on different pitches…Co-Ro-Na…an incantation,resonating with the sounds, aware of a slightly sour stomach.
I drop the paranoia, produced by prolonged exposure to the computer, the flat screen, with it’s noisy prerogatives, demanding my attention, with the intention to agitate with algorithms, 1s or 0s.
I return to coffee, indulging in the luxurious, meaningless quiet, no signals, no information, just the cry of the gulls, and the luminous pearly drops of water, like a string of silver beads, hanging from the underside of the bare branches, framed by the open window, which emits cold air, into warm lungs.
I can use my vocabulary to fill up the emptiness, I know a lot of words, I am at liberty to select from many words, matching them up, like a blind date, with sensations sweet, scenarios, snatches of sonnets, I memorized when I was a youth, mouth feelings, percolating with a heat oppressed brain, firing neurons, reaching thresholds, jumping across synaptic clefts, synaptic cliffs of fall, frightful-
Co-Ro-Na I intone, settling into the soft, round vowels, feeling the resonance in the chest cavity, a seductive power, the long vowels. Ventricular arms. A squishy squid. Black seaweed, waving underwater…
What do you want from us, lovely Co-Ro-Na? Do you wish that we might cease upon the midnight with no pain? Or are you the monster that they say you are? You have gotten us to shut up. We listen. We feel you.
Your magic will not save you, she hisses, between short bursts of staccato static.
That rough magic I do abjure, I try to assure her. Are you a vision or a waking dream? Are you like the lonely nightingale or a long oil slick, flickering flames, upon the foamy seas, closing the Dow, the falling Dow, with the clang of an ugly cow bell-
O my Corona.