COVID Contemplations

by Glen Hunting

Your throat’s a little shredded
and your chest’s a little tight.
Symptoms not unheard of
if you ought to do more laps
of tracks or pools,
or you’re carrying too much weight
or too much booze
or too much angst.
Now they’re food for any number
of tortuous feedback loops,
the catnip of your punitive speculation.
The end of the line
is not your own demise,
but being called out
for being unwilling to act.
Unwilling to cast aside
your towering workload,
too hard to accomplish at home,
when you’ve fought to peg
your professional tent
against a rain that often
rains hardest inside it.
It threatens to blow away entirely
for a doomsday sequestration
that may help no-one,
and how many times besides
will you wonder the same?
So your shelter becomes, by proxy,
the exposure of others,
or not (you’ll never be sure),
and you dare not interrogate further.
But your spurs to private remonstrance
still double every three days
like the cases confirmed.
You imagine the breaths
you might have stolen,
as you rifle the shelves
for every precious cargo
you never imagined could ever be so.
Your mind’s eye rivets itself
on cordons, contact tracing,
sperm suits and slamming doors,
sanctions and condemnations
and then, your next impossible deadline,
and shrinks back
into the mousehole crapshoot
of Business Faking Bloody Normal.
You know you abuse
the impulse of flight,
in all its guises, just like an addict—
perhaps you’re always trying to decide
if cowardice bids any worse
than the things it evades.
Haven’t you managed an answer by now?
Or, if you haven’t,
must you go on demanding it
right this minute:
this minute, or epoch to come
that’s dire beyond yourself?

Poet biography:
Glen Hunting is a writer from Perth, Western Australia, who now lives and works in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. He won the short story section of the 2019 Northern Territory Literary Awards, was twice shortlisted in the Margaret River Short Story Competition, had a short play co-produced as part of the Fremantle Festival, and has had poems published in Creatrix Journal online.

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