Poem: Breathless

Today I am posting another poem from The Sleep Machine.


Could it be the new coronavirus?
Or just the old common cold?

Should I get tested or resist
The reckless screams of data collectors?

After all, chances are it is just hayfever
And my body is not about to collapse

In the terror of the cytokine storm.
Even the reigning doctors cannot name

The symptoms that ail me most –
This interminable house arrest,

Exile from the dying city,
White gowns, black masks,

Smothered and breathless,
Shackled by a five k chain,

Condemned to meet only avatars
While the last post plays,

In the forbidden distance,
And priests prepare the rites.

They chant:
“Not this, not this.”

Image source: Olena Grin

By Jeff Rich

Jeff Rich writes poetry and many forms of prose - this blog, history, essays, fiction, briefings, even kind questioning tweets. His podcast - The Burning Archive - talks about all things history and culture from the unusual perspective of a very minor government official. He lives in Melbourne, Australia.

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