By Ginnie Padden
Gelatinous voices cresendo,
alarmed as my ragged breaths
flatten to your…sonar…blip…
I hear your timid heartbeat—my echo—
both of us straining toward life,
even while my lungs squeeze it from us.
Masked faces fade into white blindness.
Please, I beg, with tears,
my voice siphoned by intubation,
tubes weighting me like my round belly.
Faintly, I clutch at our promised future together,
snuffed beneath a filmy, oxygen tent.
So many of us have experienced loss this past year, and much of my writing has tended toward dark and brooding in response. Ironically, I published a pandemic-themed novel a few years ago—dealing with a stolen mutation of the 1918 Flu virus—which had a more positive ending than the year 2020. This poem, Complications, was written in memory of a certain young woman, anticipating the birth of her first child. We lost both souls on April 17, 2020. For Anya and for all those taken too soon.