Coronavirus poem 13: Before sheltered in place

A new language being built —
it started with Prepare for Social Distancing
then the order, Shelter in Place, a quarantine
to protect others. The paint company rep
showed up with a mask, for my safety he said,
of course. Hands chapped from washing.

Super aware of sneezes, coughs, sniffles
as never before. At the airport, in a crowded
waiting area, this new world burgeoning —
the man next to me moved because the man
next to him snored. The woman next to me
sniffled in regular intervals. All this sudden

hyperawareness, the germs that might be
on the edge of the plastic cup I hold, coconut
milk I bought at the Mexican bar, it tastes
so good. I will not let my life be ruled by fear
of germs. Everyone obsessed with hand sanitizer,
making their own, buying alcohol, cleaning supplies,

toilet paper, to excess. We are in a frenzy—red
states against blue states and someone will decide
who dies and only the rich get test results. And everyone
is going online, and yes, creativity is soaring, exploding,
but we forget the children who will die without
their parents. I walk on the plane seeing red.