I see him standing in a desert somewhere
with his eyes turned toward the sun
breathing a little heavily but clearly, waiting
the next wave, some momentous action,
the disease swept through the villages before
and now racing up the river to his home.
Or, I watch him by a sick bed, in a tent
where off-white matrons scurry for medicines
and buckets of water or waste, and the day
is young, so early it has not been born.
And sitting at home, before the window
on a village that empties of fishermen
each dawn, and swells with jacked up trucks
at twilight, and through the day is calm
at oceanside, I see this quarantine as good
for the sense of destruction around the world
more often brought on by men, more often
carried out in the name of good, or power,
in some province where people are byproducts
and the region a color on a map. And see
this quarantine, this isolation, each now in
a world round as the others we have made
of violence, territorialism, politics and gain,
like the illness of war, the destruction
of states, the differences of culture, class
and skin, this virus like wars we never see
because they are distant, removed, oblique
but ours by their destruction, and suddenly
I am on the front, standing in a room
sensing that terror of the forgotten
in an illness now cured with imagination.
George Moore is the author of Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016) and Children’s Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). Poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Orion, Arc, Colorado Review, and Stand. He is a six-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, and his poetry has been shortlisted for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize and long-listed for the Gregory O’Donoghue Poetry Prize and the Ginkgo Prize. He lives with his wife, also a poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.