A Man Looks Forward

Invisible, yet active, headless, crowned,
A microscopic devil holds us bound
Inside our homes, aflush with fear
And fever, waiting for the axe.
We dread as much the atmosphere
Of quiet thought as brash attacks,
For contemplation shows us that the soul
Is damaged. Splendid, surely, but not whole.

In lieu of sackcloth, ghostly masks are wrapped
Around our mouths as, gasping, we adapt
To quarantine, these forty days
Of washing, fasting, sacrifice.
Each of us in our closet prays,
Raw fingers gripping in a vice
The subtle heart that brought us to this end
We knew would come, but could not comprehend.

Is there no mercy tipping heaven’s scale?
If viruses and panic cause travail,
They further make us look inside
Ourselves, undrape the sheeted mind,
And recognize the gods we tried
To curry favor with are blind.
The firmament above burns brilliantly
When Easter dawns. Oh, give us eyes to see!

A Man Panics Sensibly

Put on your best clothes
for the end of the world.
Wear mohair and gold
watches. A match
or two of tennis
wouldn’t be amiss
at the end of the world.
Plant a vegetable.
Fill a table to the edge
with dishes that draw
exhalations of thanks.
Pray. Play. Work. Eat.
Go to sleep asprawl
unlike a cowed goat.
For us humans being
at the end of the world
is the best time of all.