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Friday, April 10, 2020


by Eric Weil


with apologies to T. S. Eliot

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is a viral month, breeding
Contagion out of the air, mixing
Distance and desire, streaming
Dull shows with spring pollen.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

II. A Game of Chess

The Lectern he stands at, like a burnished throne,
Glows in TV lights, where the ass
Between the flags flings his fruited lies
While gilded sycophants peep out
(And Fauci hides his eyes behind his wing),
Doubles the flames of narcissistic rage.

III. The Fire Sermon

The hospitals are broken, the last surgical masks
Fray and sink into wet piles.

Twit twit twit
Jug jug jug jug jug jug

So rudely forc’d.

IV. Death by Water

Phlebas the Epidemiologist, a fortnight dead,
Has missed the nurses’ cries, ironic memes,
Corpses lain in reefer trucks.

O you unmasked who shop and cough to windward,
Consider Phlebas, who was once healthy and hale as you.

V. What the Thunder Said

After the ICU lights on sweaty faces
After the agony in sterile places
The shouting and the crying
Prison and palace and hospital hall
They who were living now are dead
We who are living now are dying
With a little patience
Shantih   shantih shantih

Eric Weil stays inside in Raleigh, NC. He's a retired English prof who has three chapbooks in print: A Horse at the Hirshhorn, Returning from Mars, and Ten Years In. Other poems have recently appeared or will soon appear in Red Planet Review, Free State Review, Pinesong, Kakalak, and Ponder Review.