Roundelay for the Pandemic Ann Howells

Roundelay for the Pandemic Ann Howells

It will linger,
this sense of violation, vulnerability,
will judder minds through months, years –
carousel, warning bell, bombshell,
came as blackout, ack-ack,
off-the-cuff blindman’s bluff,
bourgeoisie fisticuffs.
Imagine yourself anonymous, impervious,
the virus in ennui, fiddle-de-dee,
austere among irises. Is it even real?
Thunder crack. Zodiac.

Remember easy street, honeysweet,
then heat, bleat, cheat.
All this metaphor, meteor battering,
cudgeling, walloping, a simple scrap of RNA
loose among quarks and leptons,
lost between matins and vespers.
Go ahead, marshal trepidations
(life reeks of brimstone).
Annihilation is a slavering chimera
settling on its haunches,
and you, were caught star-gazing. 

#AloneTogetherConcentric circles, suns, moons, comets,
and Fibonacci sequences –
breaths is just a fragile puff of air.
Humans are stardust:
hydrogen and carbon, nitrogen and oxygen.
Knowledge flares like napalm.
Wrapped in anxieties, we fester or effervesce.
Remember, try to remember,
a time you walked unmasked.

Prophesies remain unimaginable. Relax,
tip an ear to spherical hum,
music of lei-lines swells like summer cicadas.
The world seems upside down,
but don’t submit to pricking of your thumbs:
what comes is neither wicked nor benign;
it’s inevitable as yesterday. 

Author Bio: Ann Howells edited Illya’s Honey for eighteen years. Her books include: Under a Lone Star (Village Books Press, 2016), Cattlemen & Cadillacs as editor (Dallas Poets Community, 2016), So Long As We Speak Their Names (Kelsay Books, 2019) about Chesapeake Bay watermen, and Painting the Pinwheel Sky (Assure Press, 2020) persona poems in voices of Van Gogh and his contemporaries. Her chapbooks include: Black Crow in Flight, published through Main Street Rag’s 2007 competition and Softly Beating Wings, 2017 William D. Barney Competition winner (Blackbead Books). Ann’s work appears in many small press and university journals.

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