Gone Viral, March 2020
Not that there was ever a right way
to hear or say this name, but at first
a word arrived in ebullient shapes. It evoked
jewelled diadems, tiaras, even stars.
Perhaps it wouldn’t be this, despite
microscopic, photographic news. We whispered
differences, numbers, hidden times.
Softly, we were coughed up, and began
to take everything, and ourselves, apart.
Light bead cars moved over misted bridges,
as we told statistic-clacking rosaries.
Counted. Waited. Watched. To date, it wasn’t us.
We came to learn in more specific terms,
and in my head it mispronounced.
I heard crow-like presence, decked in black,
a hooded close-by shudder. We might be ok.
Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Causeway, Antiphon, Interpreter’s House and elsewhere; she reviews in Dundee University Review of the Arts. Collections include Handfast (2016, with Ruth Aylett) and Lamping for Pickled Fish (4Word, 2019).