simultaneity is the relationship
between two events assumed to be
happening at the same time within
a given context. Science says camels
and civets, ferrets and bats, have all
been non-human hosts for coronaviruses.
Science says a non-pathogenic version
of COVID-19 jumped from an animal
host—some say bat, others say pangolin—
to a human; and then developed quickly
into a pathogenic strain. A pangolin
is kind of a large, scaly anteater.
Curled up into itself, it looks like
a shuriken or throwing star, something
a ninja could send flying with a flick
of the wrist, before you feel it lodge
in the side of your neck and the carotid
artery supplying blood to your brain.
Did you know it is the world's most
highly trafficked non-human mammal?
In some countries, there are beliefs
(not science) that decoctions of its meat
and scales can cure excessive anxiety
and hysterical crying in children, or women
thought to be possessed by devils
and ogres. Science says there's no known
cure for the pandemic raging in all
the nations of the world right now.
Science says it's reckless and dangerous
to tout so-called cures that haven't been
clinically tested or verified. Science
knows how human behavior, pushed to
desperation, has been shown to defy logic.
Science knows why the man who took
chloroquine phosphate died; it can also
hypothesize about how he might've thought
it was identical to the anti-malarial with
a similar name. Science takes pictures
with electron microscopes, showing each
virion crowned by a halo. From there,
it's possible to make the leap to that other
image in close-up: each round cluster, clad
in red-tinted caps; and tiny white letters
spelling something lethal above the brim.
Poet Luisa A. Igloria (Poetry Foundation web page, author webpage ) is Co-Winner of the 2019 Crab Orchard Open Competition in Poetry for her manuscript Maps for Migrants and Ghosts, forthcoming from Southern Illinois University Press in fall 2020. She is the winner of the 2015 Resurgence Prize (UK), the world’s first major award for ecopoetry, selected by former UK poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, Alice Oswald, and Jo Shapcott. She is the author of What is Left of Wings, I Ask (2018 Center for the Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook Prize, selected by former US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey); Bright as Mirrors Left in the Grass (Kudzu House Press eChapbook selection for Spring 2015), Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser (Utah State University Press, 2014 May Swenson Prize), Night Willow (Phoenicia Publishing, 2014), The Saints of Streets (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, 2013), Juan Luna’s Revolver (2009 Ernest Sandeen Prize, University of Notre Dame Press), and nine other books. She is a member of the core faculty of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University which she directed from 2009-2015. In 2018, she was the inaugural Glasgow Distinguished Writer in Residence at Washington and Lee University. When she isn’t writing, reading, or teaching, she cooks with her family, knits, hand-binds books, and listens to tango music.