I carried rubber gloves as prophylactics
against alien doorknobs. We scrubbed
our groceries, panicked that our plague
might be as much attached to fomites
as to aerosols. I couldn’t quite believe
that still-warm laundry would corrupt
after resting on an unsterilized tabletop.
I also didn’t disbelieve it.
May I allow myself a modest smile for
the physical dread we handed, one to one?
In place of homo sapiens’ religion of
raw dominance over matter,
the repressed returned. Every sugar bowl,
subway strap, conspired to smother us,
innocent in bed. Compare and contrast
1) my death, irrelevant to this teakwood coaster
2) slow mass suicide, by fathers, mothers,
worshippers who gunpoint caution,
force it off the premises. When I have fears
that I may cease to be: dear Keats, what may?
You did. I will.
But greater than that fear
is chronophobia, the terror of each good-night
kiss, dog walk, sandwich, those many seconds
closer to a lunchless, laughless, terminal,
blank. I tell myself, spare yourself
from the fright of life. For November dew-streaked
windows, for this almost-solid body, be rescued.