St. Valentine, Bishop of Terni, probably beheaded, was also the patron saint of asthma, beekeepers, and epilepsy, so he might have said

love in the time of COVID is no different than 
love at any other time: that is, full of loneliness.

Only more so. Pre-COVID, there were possibilities:
clandestine meetings at Trader Joe’s, Fisk’s Jubilee 

Singers’ Balm in Gilead at Tuesdays’ pancake suppers.
All attempted All for naught. Post-COVID, love will still 

be a hungry disciple with her wimple being what it always
was; her overcoat continuing to thin in all the places it was

already thinning; her outline identical to that surrounding
a bloodhound, run over. And even that outline will dissolve. 

Some say that among COVID’s symptoms are a loss of 
taste, a loss of smell. And the love loss during this COVID-

without-end emits the stink of Valentine’s remains stashed
in reliquaries, a bitter taste of beetroot laid on his holy table.

Copyright © 2023 by Lynne Thompson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on February 16, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.