The Poetry of Mary K. O'Melveny

CONTAGION

Published on New Verse News - February 29, 2020    (Link)

 




CONTAGION

By Mary K O'Melveny




When dispersed, dandelion seed heads, also known as “blowballs,” can travel vast distances due to a unique morphology of the pappus, a fine hair-like material which holds the spherical seed heads and enables their wind-aided dispersal. The pappus adapts, based on wind or air moisture, closing its plume of seeds until optimal conditions for maximum dispersal and germination occur.  

 

 

the metaphor seems right

too obvious of course

as arenas fill up with 

chanting shrieking clapping

sounds of sickness  backbeats

to our long agony

 

everyone in MAGA

hats or face masks   Look

to your right or your left

infection will arrive

like a dandelion’s

pappus as it sails off

 

carried by wind to new

meadows,  gliding down like

wartime propaganda 

hoping for fallow fields

and willing minds   there is 

no ripcord    just free fall

 

furtive looks  yield nothing

no obvious symptoms

everyone could carry

these germs    no one will tell

truths   everyone will shift

blame   new tears will be shed 

 

you cannot lock us all

up   cannot invent a

failsafe test   find a cure

hiding inside some lab 

mouse   even if we steal

back money from builders

 

of walls a plague still looms

dress up in your white coats

smile at your neighbors who

are about to lock their 

doors so you can’t enter

wash your hands one more time

 

then beg them for mercy

show them how your face mask

can repel each viral 

blast better than theirs  

tell them you have never 

seen a hot zone or helped 

 

a victim    promise you will

never argue about

anything important

won’t blow any whistles

tell them you are grateful 

you will not doubt again

 

 

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