What He Could Control of COVID

by Eric Forsbergh

My physician friend Majid
took up santour,
his grandfather’s instrument
graced across his lap.
He says it helps him contemplate

the slope of death. Before,
the old instrument sat propped
in the corner like an elderly relative
who’s visiting: antique, passé.

Today my friend Majid began to play.
His initial notes? How awkward.
For now. But in full flight,
how eloquent the hammers, even to

their slender stalks and felted tips
as delicate as sparrow’s legs. In time,
he’ll play it for his children, to narrate
the century from the last great pestilence

to this.

Eric Forsbergh‘s poems have appeared in JAMA, Ponder Review, Artemis, Zeotrope, The Cafe Review, The Journal of Neurology and other venues. Nominated for a Pushcart by the Northern Virginia Review, he is currently volunteering as a vaccinator against COVID for the Loudoun County Public Health Department in Virginia. He is a Vietnam veteran and has served on medical mission trips to Guatemala and Appalachia. 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.