by Laurinda Lind
One century ago now
pneumonia circled the earth
stealing all the air it could,
a virus that still cycles around
like a comet but it’s evolved,
like the salmon that swim off
sooner since the sea is so warm,
the hemagglutinin of H1N1
with the same crystal structure
as in 1918 but without bombing
the body from the marrow outward.
Did you hear on the news about
the woman who came back from
the hospital at age one hundred
after coronavirus, she’d had the so-
called Spanish flu when she was a baby,
too, enough of them didn’t die that
we can be here now for this rerun
with different RNA replications.
A doctor in my grandmother’s
hometown on the St. Lawrence River
cut the blue lungs out of an almost-dead
man ten decades ago and let fluid
run out of them as if they were a pair
of fish laid out on the table, sewed
them back in, and the guy lived.
A meteor will mow down
whatever it wants, so you might as
well just stay centered in the most
essential space in yourself.
Laurinda Lind quarantines in New York’s North Country. Some publications are in Blue Earth Review, The Cortland Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Spillway; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press), What I Hear When Not Listening: Best of The Poetry Shack & Fiction, Vol. I (Sonic Boom), and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC. Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.