Our Separate Ways
Now we are back in the elder woods with
our plague masks on, beaks sniffing out
sorrow, divining rods set to isopropyl. Water
is not clean enough, so we drink stale beer,
cultivate ergot in the barn. We hear the disease
can make you hallucinate, but it’s certainly witches.
Virus I am under your spell. Split my skull to let
the haunted breath out. Anyone can be possessed.
My brother comes over to smoke, and I don’t move the
pipe for 14 days. Coming home we leave our bodies
at the door. Flesh is not clean enough. Lock me up
with my cytokine storm. The lightning that forms
in our blood will raise cadavers from the earth.
Since We Went Inside
Slowly mermaids return to the
canals of Venice. The dragons
return to China. Yeti hawk their furs
in Kathmandu. Their American
cousins take back the hiking trails.
Big cats and serpents patrol the
streets. New York becomes a city of
gryphons. The gargoyles grow fat.
The Loch Ness Monster takes some
time to travel and becomes just,
“The Monster.” A sphinx drowses
in the sun and licks his paw.
Meantime the werewolves and
vampires conspire in secret. Their
primary food source won’t leave the
house. Resources are low. Blood
banks are depleted. The humans
stockpile guns and silver, while the
undead starve. These are dark
times to be creatures of the night,
everyone agrees. “It’s a real life
epidemic,” a nosferatu complains.
Y’mach Shmo – May His Name Be Erased
This year the plagues come early. Locusts.
Pestilence. The death of the first-born.
Pharoah shivers in his tomb. The museums close,
then the alleys. The seders have gone virtual.
Blood on the doorpost won’t save us this time.
The Angel of Death spreads slowly through the city,
touching everything. An employee coughs,
and we wipe his memory from the countertop.
Tonight we remember what it feels like to be hunted.
Contagion, y’mach shmo. We don’t need bitter herbs
to taste days like these. Who knows how long we’ll be
in this desert? We stock up on matzah because
it lasts. We have been here before. When the sea split,
we ran across its scar. Beloveds, there are still seven
plagues left. May we all be passed over. May we all
be passed over. May we all be passed over. Amen.