by Mir Elias



“Hazard not a thought: / These are strange times, my dear.”

                                                                  —Ahmad Shamlu


Clustered like outbreaks, we turn virulent in these times.
The business of killings still abundant in these times.

Birdsong, oxygen, virus reclaim forsaken air;
Weapon and battleground—our bodies spent in these times.

Frontlines expand as our lives contract, some forever.
Our villages become islands senescent in these times.

Our days are disheveled, dusty from lack of display;
We form packs and pacts of entitlement in these times.

Like used dishcloths frayed, the seams of our lives unravel
To reveal the truths and lies mendicant in these times.

The stimulus drops in dribs and drabs, a mere trickle
Quenched by the firestorm of need insurgent in these times.

The color of life that was and never will tints dreams:
Solitude—jailor, cities—contingent, in these times.

Cognitive distortions, gaps in perception roam free;
Flagrant bold, foolish brave—intransigent, in these times.

The math of shelves bare and beds full confound us all Mir,
While the foxes feast on unrepentant in these times.

Strange and beauteous, unpresidented dangerous—
We witness, record, survive—transient in these times.


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