By Hank Dallago
Some numbers are more verbal
than others. Like ones that broad-
cast a daily tally of the deceased.
Or inform details of my elevated
blood pressure, cholesterol, heart rate –
the masked deadly trio.
Less verbose are the pounds I’ve
gained since the pandemic, hours
lost movie binging. Amount of turns
awake inside of night.
Then I obtained my ID – passport to
the second Covid shot. Emotions
dwarfed my tears. Instantly, infected
with relief, I soared home to engrave
the time and place. Remind my skin
where trillions of cells were protected.
How in one year an invisible virus
changed everything. One minute
heaven’s fading, the next I’m flying.
How a small group of digits
multiplied the immeasurability
of my life.
Till Death Do We Meet
I’m not here to strike fear in your heart
delve into drama or pointless theatrics
Not cunning or cruel as is whispered,
civilized or cultured are more suitable
I wait calmly benevolently alone
witness how vulnerable suffering can be
At times, desire beckons an overstay
curiosity overcoming my best instincts
Most haven’t a clue I’ve come and gone
imagining the sickle of a grim reaper,
emaciated face in a black cloak
(though I favor a hooded robe, light grey)
Veiled in pride greed injustice
susceptible to when I come calling
Some say death cheats life
gravely underestimate human vanity.
Author, poet, children’s picture book writer, and percussionist, Hank uses grammar artistically to frame a rhythmic and lyrical experience, treating language and form in creative and innovative ways to inspire the reader’s emotions and excite their imagination.
I did not want to write or create much of anything during the fist stage of the pandemic. Or maybe I just couldn’t. Frozen with fear and grief from just having lost four family members in two years (only one from Covid), my energy and creativeness was centered inward. So, I went on long and short walks, visited nature from time to time, read poetry, movie binged, watched the news then didn’t watch the news like a fanatic trying to quit a foolish addiction. Until bits of inspiration began to spill out of me on many pieces of scratch paper, a steady rhythm played on one of my percussion instruments, and a realization of how vulnerable we all are and remembering to embrace gratitude and love in countless ways to everyone and everything.
My poem, Tell Death Do Us Part was inspired by the novel, The Book Thief, written by Markus Zusak after having read the book in 2019 (with the passing of four close family members) and completing the poem in 2020. The poem Infinite was written to commemorate the second vaccination and the euphoric feeling I experienced that completely overwhelmed me with tears and laughter.