Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • August-September 2022 • Circulation 5000

Fear of ‘21

Fear the warm breath of others.
Vapour-borne viruses might
force you to ventilation.

Fear your own breath, a weapon
that could kill your grandmother
even if you wear a mask.

Fear most the half-masked strangers
who test tomatoes’ firmness:
fingerprint germs in your mouth.

Host super-spreader parties.
Invite infected people.
Death’s a number on TV.

In a pixel-only world
my own eyes are a wide screen,
my brain inoculated.

Tree limbs waggle in the wind,
wave leafless wood through sunbeams,
observe us trapped under glass.

2020 is undone.
The pandemic carries on.
At least COVID’s having fun.

Gary lives in McCauley. A note from the poet: “I’ve committed to writing at least one poem a month on the theme of ’21.’ I’ve called the project ‘Cures for Eikosienaphobia’ (which means fear of 21 in Greek). In this poem, I’ve modified the three-line haiku form into three lines of seven syllables each. I call it a 21-er. I’ve put seven of these together and made a 21-line poem out of it. This poem talks about seven different ways of dealing with the fear of ’21.”

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