Ken Poyner’s latest collections of speculative poetry, Stone the Monsters, or Dance and Lessons From Lingering Houses, emerged in mid-2021, joining his other two collections of poetry, and four of flash fiction. See Barking Moose Press. He spent 33 years working in the information arts, and lives with his power-lifting wife, several rescue cats, and multiple betta fish in the lower right-hand corner of Virginia.
Jerry was too macho to wear a mask.
Never been sick a day in his life,
Except for the tonsillectomy, two rounds
Of pneumonia, countless unremembered colds,
And the flu he caught from an anonymous girl
He slept with only once. Besides,
The President he adores says likely
The virus is a hoax; or, at worst, is getting better—
We have rounded the corner.
Not as big a thing as I anticipated.
For many, it did not go as expected.
They would see someone start bodily off,
Smile in preparation, roll
To their toes, jut out
Their arms – and nothing. If
They had closed their eyes
They would open them one
At a time, looking about
To see who was still abandoned
On Earth. From the looks of it,
The final selections were a bit thin,
There is going to be a fearful horde
Of us left to face what is next. No
Airliners pilotless falling from crowded skies,
Few cars suddenly driverless spinning
Pinball-like on shocked highways. Mothers
Checking perambulators not sure whether
Finding the baby or not is best.
People running outdoors thinking God
Might need a straight shot, standing
A few awkward moments, sullenly
Dragging themselves back in. Cell phones
Still working, I call the wife
To see how it looks where she waits.
It rings and rings and rings, and I start
To leave a message, then pause.