A Poem by Bev Hadden
Wear a mask? Count me out. Dig a moat around the castle, hold a party in the ballrooms—the homeless shelter in cardboard boxes, beg for food—Build a concrete wall three feet thick, another of steel laced in barbed wire– those who stand unmasked outside the revelry, worship at the altar of disbelief. Wildfires gobble forests and entire cities—The Masque of the Red Death snakes across the moat—Arctic icebergs melt, lift the level of the seas – revelers fall lifeless, clothed in gold and velvet—the bridge collapses, people in trucks and cars drown in the river below… Casino owners, a mayor, someone running for office, a vacuum cleaner salesman, the one who’s leading a double life wear invisible masks. Children are starving, food banks hold empty shelves — The virus lurks, slithers unseen through doors and walls in New York City, Beijing, Sydney, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Amsterdam, Moscow; strikes the old and the young, rich and poor, kings and servants, beggars and thieves—The population count thins like the peel of an onion.