The Apocalypse

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell, New York

This is the apocalypse

A daffodil has poked its head upDodelijke narcis

from the dirt and opened

sunny arms to bluer skies

yet I am filled with

dark and anxious dread

as theaters close as travel ends and

grocery stores display their empty rows

where toilet paper liquid bleach

and bags of flour stood in upright ranks.

My stomach twists and fingers shake

as I prepare to work the battleground

the place I’ve always loved and felt at home

is now a field of droplets sprayed across a room

or lurking on a handle or a sink to find their way

inside our trusting hands or mouths or eyes

the ones that touch you when you’re sick

speak soothing words and seek the answer to your pain.

This is the apocalypse

as spring begins again

and brightly colored flowers

deploy in my back yard

the neighbors walk their dogs

and march along the quiet streets

I stretch my purple gloves on steady hands

I tie my yellow gown behind my back

my hair inside a blue bouffant

my mouth and nose and eyes are

still and calm inside their waiting shields.

This is the apocalypse.

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