On a cold blue morning, she will sit
on a crowded rattling train,
antibacterial gel in her pocket,
avoiding other people’s faces,
sneezes, coughs and stares.
She might fidget on her seat,
watch the burgeoning greenery,
the fresh flashes of fields and trees
as she hurtles towards the city:
crowds of strangers, with their mouths
and noses, suspicious eyes, and masks.
She has never seen a sea of masks,
in a hospital or nightmare: will she be
debilitated by contagion or anxiety?
Kim M. Russell, 4th March 2020
Magaly says that If we have access to any kind of news, the word ‘contagion’ doesn’t fill our hearts with the warmest of feelings. I’m taking a five-hour train ride next Monday, part of which is on the London Underground, to get to my daughter and grandson to celebrate his second birthday, and I’m anxious.
Thank you, Magaly, for channeling my anxiety into ‘ink-infused hope’, new poetry or prose inspired by the idea of ‘Contagion’—social, metaphorical or biological.