|Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. NIAID. CC BY 2.0|
Virions, under an electron microscope, resemble a crown.
An artist’s soft hued roses and golds,
belie the sinister underbelly, the forked tongue.
Everything suddenly looks a whole lot different;
Today an elderly woman inclined over
walking frame, inches down supermarket aisles
in search of weekly staples,
not agile enough to dodge another’s cough,
nor equipped to stockpile
or prepare for viral war.
Champagne, chocolate and flowers—an anachronism;
today’s best offering is disinfectant,
a white mask, a can or two of beans thrown in.
Forgo the hug, the kiss,
the meet up, the get together.
The new kindness
is keeping a distance,
restraining the arms,
extending the heart.
All the tender, ordinary things we trod on in haste,
rushed on by, frantic for deadlines,
glow, iridescent with new significance;
Mum, Dad—is it eighty-three you turn this year?
I remember you as younger. I’ve been saving for a visit,
promising to come back to the home country,
but the borders are closing
and travellers are dangerous missiles.
The conviction that it wasn’t supposed to be like this
doesn’t change a thing—
Everything suddenly looks a whole lot different.
SOPHIA WILSON is a mother of three and writer with a background in arts, medicine, and psychiatry. Her recent poetry/short fiction can be found in StylusLit, Not Very Quiet, Ars Medica, Hektoen International, Poems in the Waiting Room (NZ), Corpus and elsewhere. In 2019 the manuscript for her first children’s novel, The Guardian of Whale Mountain, was selected in the top ten for the Green Stories Competition (UK). She was shortlisted or placed in a number of national and international poetry competitions including the Takahē Monica Taylor Prize and the Robert Burns Poetry Prize. Sophia is also the recipient of a 2020 Creative New Zealand grant.