I am the eyes behind the sun-bright shield.
The muffled voice behind the stifling mask
The accent wrong, the words themselves too fast
Too loud, vowels dropped, meanings lost, left with
those things which cannot be told through words
but only felt through touch and tone and tears.

I am the body standing arms outstretched
Chin down eyes closed breath held head turned just so
Awash in tiny drops of fear, and death
one simple splash away. And still I wait
until the spray has stopped, and then I start
yet another fifteen minutes where just one
mistake means I will never see home again.

I am the hand beneath three gloves that holds
the IV bag, a few small pills, more
ORS and yet again some more, please,
mun yo, I beg, you must drink so you can
live, and silently I beg, please do not
let me be the one to close your eyes
for the final time; I never knew I
would grow weary of empty gazes.

I am the soul full of rage, volcanic,
indiscriminate, a Vesuvius
of bitter rawly screaming vicious silence.
For who can lay blame at the feet of the
dead? And thus I lay blame on the ears of
the living, friend and foe and stranger alike,
for there is no release or relief in
unburdening this weight on a virus.

I am the two sandy feet standing in
the endless gathering arms of the ocean
under a darkness so replete with stars
that Betelgeuse and Bellatrix and the
triplets of the belt are nearly lost in
a cacophony of endless points of
light. And the universe says, lucky you,
you have been given a gift, for only
through the lens of suffering can one see
with sudden clarity the simple breathless
wonder it is just to be alive.

I am the life standing in the water
from whence all life came, and I say,
so, then, this is my reward,
and it is.