By Tim Heerdink
Six Feet Apart / Six Feet Deep
We live in a new ever-changing world of paranoia
where the air is poison & a scratchy throat calls
for a two-week minimum quarantine in solitude.
All one can see while out & about at the market
is a pack of rabid wolves dancing around
each other with nothing but their eyes shown.
Stay away from me! one grits snarling teeth
underneath checkered patterned fabric
on another regular pandemic afternoon.
There’s enough latex thrown in the trash
to choke every sea turtle who dares
to outlive us swimming in the ocean.
Follow the arrows, stay in your own space
or there’ll be a place prepared for you
when the hacking is finally complete.
Six feet is the magical distance it takes
for the avoidance of the spray of a sneeze,
so choose this air above or the dirt below.
(reproduced with the kind permission of Alien Buddha Press)
Fake Clouds over Murky Waters
Now, don’t paint me a fool
when I tell you
this big V
keeping everyone on lock
is not worth the time lost,
that there are far worse lurkers
waiting to grab hold of us.
Did you know there’s a neurosurgeon
who keeps busy
extracting tumors of the brain
which infiltrate and ruin a person
up to three times each week?
This has gone on for far too long.
How many times
must I explain to my daughter
why Mammaw is gone?
That the water is too gross
in the river because people throw
their waste in like the Ohio
is a grand toilet bowl?
That those aren’t clouds
coming out those stacks?
People want bucks
without a care of the death attached
even as their loved ones
take their last breaths.
Does it take their own death sentence to make a difference?
Of course, by then
it is far too late for change.
If It comes for Me
Everyone’s gathering supplies for winter
like squirrels preparing for hibernation.
Another shutdown is imminent, they say,
taking the last loaf and gallon off shelves
before clogging up the check out.
They’ve canceled their holidays
yet it’s no big deal to gather
for this demonstration of mania.
It seems as though the virus
grows in its ability to reach
all within my extended circle.
We’re waiting to become immune;
no vaccine will ever kiss these veins,
no, they shall never receive consent.
Everyone’s masked up, & yet
we’re all allegedly dying.
I’m not going to let fear rule me
the little time we all have left.
If it comes for me,
I’ll never know.
Tim Heerdink is the author of The Human Remains, Red Flag and Other Poems, Razed Monuments, and short stories, The Tithing of Man and HEA-VEN2. He is President of Midwest Writers Guild of Evansville, Indiana.
“Six Feet Apart / Six Feet Deep” is my observation of the public world as the pandemic first hit.
“Fake Clouds over Murky Waters” criticizes the factories that pollute the Ohio River Valley and my hatred for brain cancer. How brain cancer should be addressed as much if not more than COVID-19.
“If It Comes for Me” expresses my desire to live without fear unlike others. Life will end when it is time. The vaccine is not something I will welcome