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It didn’t care about who you were or
Where you had been or how you were going
To get there. It was in no hurry to
Get where it was going as long as it
Got there all right, unsafely lodged in lungs
And other tissue of the body, no
Problem waiting, it could wait for the end
Or it could make you as sick as they come
Without any problem on its part, and
It didn’t care if the stakes were high, life
And death, that’s what it lived to do to us,
Take us from life towards death, singing to
Us as it squeezed the breath out of each one
Of us, one by one or in groups that once
We all gathered in before the virus
Decided that it would lay each one low.


Michael Angelo Stephens is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Brooklyn Book of the Dead; the travel memoir Lost in Seoul; and the award-winning essay collection Green Dreams. Later this year, MadHat Press will publish his collection of prose poems and poetry about an out of work actor who lands the part of Hamlet; it is entitled History of Theatre or the Glass of Fashion. His poem about George Floyd appeared in Oddball this past June.