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Tuesday, April 07, 2020


by Lori Desrosiers 

Asthma Society of Ireland

“People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.  COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease.” —CDC

In histamine driven midnight storm
awakened either by the red cat’s whiskers
or your breath I recall the moments
before my hour’s sleep stumbling upon
a live feed of the northern lights where I
could hear the polar wind its breath

rising and falling the breath of earth
and ice and flow the pulse of sun’s
electric charge. Searching for a good
blank page to place in ink the element
of shift to try to describe how arctic ice’s
flow affects plankton and sea angels and
viruses held for eons in cold embrace.

How does sleep come easy to you my love,
now you are well and this new horror threatens
from beyond our bed? Four years ago, you in
hypothermia and coma after CPR, the nurse
warned me not to hold your hand or touch
your skin so my life force dare not bring you
back just yet, a connection so strong
we could draw the other back from death.

We know little about this plague except
it takes away the very breath, pulls
at the sinews of our imagination.
Panic coursing through my body,
my hand touches your forearm and
immediately my heart rate slows.
You breathe your future, and I sleep.

Lori Desrosiers’ poetry books are The Philosopher’s Daughter (Salmon Poetry 2013), Sometimes I Hear the Clock Speak (Salmon Poetry 2016), and Keeping Planes in the Air (Salmon Poetry 2020). Two chapbooks, Inner Sky and typing with e.e. cummings, are from Glass Lyre Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA in Poetry from New England College and teaches in the Lesley University M.F.A. program. She edits Naugatuck River Review, a journal of narrative poetry, and Wordpeace, an online journal dedicated to social justice. She lives and writes in Westfield, Massachusetts.