Plague Morning

by Ann E. Michael

I had been well, twisting the stem
of a cruciform blossom or a forget-me-not,
and everything was ripening then
I took to my bed for dreaming.

When the birds began to waken
I found myself unwrapping a flannel sheet,
then bones, then a bloodless knot
at my feet, whitened

contrasting this damp dark soil,
the wide field tilled but nothing sown, and knew
at once that weeds would claim it—
but what of the unclaimed bones?

I don’t know, I could not tell
if they were my own or the bean-field’s
or dream-skeletons or a wayward bird’s.
I only know I took, then, to my bed.

Ann E. Michael lives in Pennsylvania, USA, where she currently directs the writing center at DeSales University. She is a poet, educator, essayist, and librettist who has appeared in print regularly since 1982. Her most recent collection of poems is Barefoot Girls; her next book, The Red Queen Hypothesis, will be published sometime in 2021 (Salmon Poetry). Varada J.M. is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.