by Stephen C. Middleton
Eleventh hour of the eleventh day…in the clinic. On the way, a mauve winter rose stopped me – near luminous in its frailty. Elsewhere poppies. An Italian woman – she sneezes at the station, too quick to catch (it), laughs, sneezes again, into cupped hands. ‘Domani’, she and her friends chant – and ‘sickness’. Tonight, however – they mime partying. Like the plague women of Martinique: Tonight we dance, and spread contagion. Aujourd’hui, manana, domani. Or, artist to the end, Egon Schiele drew his dying wife, in the great Spanish influenza outbreak, before dying himself. Does the Gueckedou Jazz Orchestra still play? In time of Ebola, a rackety generator, aquamarine hair extensions, & shy. Tonight we dance, tomorrow we… Out of quarantine. Or; out while quarantined. Tonight we dance, tomorrow we die.