Two Poems

By Janet Jiahui Wu

Covid 19 Being the Elephant in the Room

not everyone talks about it but it’s on everyone’s mind
everyone has their own opinions about it and other things
like plastic surgery global warming mining lithium in peasant
land not everyone believes they are entirely right or entirely
wrong but everyone thinks they know something the others
don’t and therefore their opinions seem somehow truer to
them not everyone believes this or that moral or amoral
and not everyone wants to spend all their spare time debating
or thinking about death or “the plague” sometimes people
just need a blue bird or a lily in a vase and sometimes people
just want confetti floating in the air and not images of the
dissection of corpses or the fridges in the morgue and so on
not everyone is ready to accept everything as true and righteous
not everyone is good at forgetting what they see or stopping
themselves from feeling afraid when they see something fake
but it makes them think it’s something real even though they
know it’s all fake not everyone is four and twenty and not
everyone is four times twenty and so there are differences
like the differences between a rose bud and a fish hook cactus
or a chestnut mare and a highland alpaca everyone wants
to feel okay about the future and everyone wants to feel
secure and loved and not lose their loved ones not everyone
can accept nature as it is not everyone can reduce death
to a theorem or survival of the fittest not everyone can
see clearly and not everyone wants to be in the fog not
everyone can stomach cancer and say I have triumphed
not everyone triumphs and not everyone can have the faith
to believe not that everyone should believe or disbelieve or
that everyone should disavow or make changes it’s just that
people aren’t always at their best or feeling their best or
courageous or invincible everyone is mortal that’s all not
everyone can make that transcendental leap in their mind
and walk at the edge of abysses not everyone is nietzsche’s
superman not everyone is strong as a bull and even a bull
meets death in a ring not everyone can feel light as a feather
all the time not everyone can soar high like an eagle all the
time and even the eagle rests in its nest and sleeps through
storms not everyone is nasty and untrue not everyone is
kind and divine everyone is just a little cuckoo sometimes
and a little angry sometimes and a little quiet sometimes and
a little antisocial sometimes and a little sad and a little happy
and a little glad at someone else’s misfortune not everyone
is evil and hateful not everyone is dreadful and distasteful
maybe even in the evil and hateful and dreadful and distasteful
there are moments of beauty we don’t know everyone can
be unable incapable and able and capable at the same time
everyone is at once the rose the cactus and the worm
and everyone can dream and everyone forgets we have more
in common than the books and professors and biologists
and scientists and artists and writers and fools and rulers
say we do

Janet Jiahui Wu is a Hong-Kongese-Chinese-Australian visual artist and writer of poetry and fiction. She has published in various literary magazines such as Voiceworks, Cordite Poetry Review, Mascara Literary Review, Rabbit Poetry, Plumwood Mountain Poetry, foam:e, Tipton Poetry Journal, Yes!, Gone Lawn, SCUM, and so on. She currently lives in South Australia.

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