by Marjorie Maddox
In Little Bay, Australia: the injured, the isolated,
the highly infectious, and now, you, Dear Reader,
unrolling the bandages, passing the scalpel,
wiping the brows, stacking the bedpans,
pushing the wooden wheelchair down the long hall
toward the next century’s death and disease,
which is today, Memorial Weekend, 2020,
the museum’s smiling mannequins unable to say
which way to turn to escape the vast array
of scales, the showcased skeletons, the inevitable
interaction with grief, and what the typed captions
will read after next decade’s renovations make room
for this year’s tallies of loss and sorrow. Go now
out the unlocked side door and onto the wide front porch.
The ocean is still there: crashing or cleansing? Listen.
Decide whether or not to breathe.
Marjorie Maddox is the winner of America Magazine’s 2019 Foley Poetry Prize and Professor of English and Creative Writing at Lock Haven University. She has published 11 collections of poetry, including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation (Yellowglen Prize); True, False, None of the Above (Illumination Book Award Medalist); Local News from Someplace Else; Perpendicular As I (Sandstone Book Award); the short story collection What She Was Saying (Fomite); and four children’s and YA books, including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises and A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems, and I’m Feeling Blue, Too! Arabella Luna Friedland is a visual artist and writer based in New York City. She’s influenced by a childhood with cartoons, a classical education in anatomy and life drawing, and a firm belief that all art — is a portrait.