don’t say pandem

by Margaret Ruckert

To make sense
is daily labour …
why, why did I do X
why, why did U do Y
and they, them, the others
why did they do
the rest of the alphabet.
This poem is looking for
the light of reason
with a low battery.
don’t say pandem …   
decision in hindsight     it’s understandable
why an organisation would signal ‘epidemic’
while the science of a virus is still young
it’s like testing the waters with an unwilling toe
rather than plunging in     unaware of a swarm
of sea-stingers ready to kill     at random    
the ‘epidemic’ word is mildly worrisome
we’re alerted from routine     like an orange light
get ready to stop     wait     this is serious
in the health of society words circulate like disease
mention of the blockbuster word     pandemic
releases the infectious cold of pandemonium …
a horror of movie proportions     the thumping
bass line of a migraine     the latest apocalypse
utter terror     the indescribable described 
in isolation     thinking through fear    
it was meanings and their words that intrigued us
that floated optimism     or swamped us
and now July numbers     start swamping again
we ride another tsunami     forget to look back

Poet biography:
Margaret Owen Ruckert B Sc M Ed gained third place in the Society of Women Writers 2019 National Writing Competition – Poetry, having won in 2007.  Her book musefood won the 2012 IP Poetry Book of the Year. Her tanka appear in international journals. Following a science and education career, she now facilitates the Hurstville Discovery Writers.

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