Instructions for a Pandemic

  1. First, put on a reflector vest and go for a run at 1 a.m.
    Don’t see a soul.
    Arrive home, shower and go to bed.
    Imagine the things you could have done instead.

2. Compose an email:
If you were to visit, would I fix you a drink?
Maybe dinner, a Pop-Tart on a paper doily.
Put the dishes in the sink and light a cigarette.

Make conversation.

Seriously, how do you take it, day after day,
neat or on the rocks?
I’m fixing to retire, you say,
put my feet up, call it a day.

And how are you fixed for funds,
for eternity?

Run out of things to say.

Friends appear, disappear.

Watch the shadows lengthen along the wall,
even though you sit indoors with the blinds drawn.

Ignore the shadows.
Decide not to send the email.

3. Pick up your favourite figurines,
the peasant lass, the horse, the chubby monk,
the Don Quixote and his friend, reason and unreason,
belief and unbelief
or the other way around.

One by one, hurl the figurines at the wall.
When you run out of figurines,
get a broom, a dustpan, a cardboard box.

There, now. Feel better?

4. Stick your head in the fridge.
Now try the dryer,
the cardboard box with the shards of figurine.

5. Think about the vaccine that’s on the way.
A solution of sorts to the barbarian invasion,
the thing you feared most,
now hurtling through the night over the cold Atlantic,
a point of light inching west.

A needle that will fix


6. Raise the blind and look out the window.
Try another window.
And another…

6 thoughts on “Instructions for a Pandemic”

  1. It’s 1 AM as it happens, but I won’t be going for a run. I have decided to send this email though, to let you know that you’re not the only one rewriting the manual.


  2. Gosh, how did miss commenting on this, so many, many months ago.
    I’m still searching for a window with a better view of things.
    When you wrote this, could you have imagined where the world be at 15 months later?


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