Volume 26, Number 7—July 2020
A Critique of Coronavirus
Why did the quiet descend?
Does this plague not know
that apocalypses come with fanfare,
wails of lamentation,
howls of wayward dogs,
Or, maybe, silence.
Just shop-window glass crunching underfoot
puncturing the eerie nothing.
Why does the sun still shine?
Can it not see what transpires
from its lofty throne
above the Earth?
Read the room, sun.
Now’s the time for greyscale filter.
Or, maybe, an eclipse.
One last blinding ray of blazing flare
to scorch the land,
to boil the sea,
to serve up des hommes brûlés
to whichever vengeful deity
dines with us tonight.
Why can I smell the tulips?
I thought the virus
wiped olfaction from our
paltry list of powers?
Or, maybe, smoke.
You know, from voracious flames
feasting on our foliage and flesh,
the smog of industry,
of mushroom clouds.
Why does that not sting my nostrils?
Why does life go on inexorably?
Is Ragnarök not supposed to happen
Where are the horsemen?
Where are the double gates of Paradise?
What a lame apocalypse:
we’ve been sold a lemon.
Or, maybe, pop culture eschatology
isn’t all it is cracked up to be.
I thought the zombies would be roaming
all my haunts
Miss Osen is a Specialty Registrar in the ENT Department at St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London. Her professional interests include ENT and history of medicine; extracurricular interests include composing bleak poetry and flash/sudden fiction.
Original Publication Date: May 26, 2020