Pestilence Shards, poetry written by Michael Ball at
Blake Guidry

Pestilence Shards

Pestilence Shards

written by: Michael Ball



I. Irony

Have we time and heart space
for irony
(even for the athletic)
while the plague
squats upon us?

I was a swimmer, breast,
powerful of lung and leg.
What if my huge
air sacs clog and
I drown in a bed?
You were a dancer,
what if you faint and fall,
literally’ dying of stumbling?
\What if the long-distance
runner’s strong heart
bursts while thumping along?


II. Gym Grief

know why,

gal and guy
pull on handles
of your locked doors.
Now no sweat dribbles
on your floors
or mingles in your pool…
while plague stalks

You have locked
us out with the monster.


III. The Larder

We are not
preppers nor have
ever once bought Spam
nor do we hoard any good.

Others though,
many we know by face,
have become scavengers
grocery crows and raccoons.
They take all loaves,
all muscle meat,
and most vegetables.

Now we gratefully worship
our purple, almost black
treasure, an eggplant
left by the culinary challenged.
I am friendly with eggplants
and cauliflower heads,
which in turn yield sapid
meals of beauty and complexity.


IV. Still Married

Greeting and leaving
we share light lip smacks.
This is our kiss risk,
love’s worthy danger.


V. As We Live

We walk around the rim
of the plague volcano
we are not singed…yet
The imps of death
have not visited close
this time.

Meanwhile, Jews must
sit shiva alone
and not lament in crowds.
Surely gentile wakes and
memorial services must have
gone the way of drive-through
coffee and conference calls,
distancing the most essential
and most intimate.


VI. Brash Bushes

Suddenly though,
out the kitchen window,
hundreds of tiny lilac bud fists
grow and show.

Plants don’t think or feel,
they simply live and
do their business.
No matter how many
humans are sickly,
lilacs spring in Spring.


VII. Far Future

We were planning our Scotland trip.
Harrumph to plans.
Mail still comes and
I await my renewed passport
that I applied for,
replete with a pair
of stark new photos.
So, what will that mean
when it arrives?

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