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The Coming Storm

Before the virus, we would sometimes contemplate the sea:
a great sweeping waterscape canvas of the unoccupied mind,

dealing with death like a distant cousin, out on the horizon
singing its traditional songs, playing its flute and rattle

on a melody that did not stir things but settled them,
moving among the trees like a wolf.

Before this, the deaths of the world did not matter;
they were echoing sounds in a box, totems in the desert, neighbors

walking into the dark on a Tuesday or a Thursday, marked by a flower
on the calendar. Now the air is full of the dead,

not just names but mirrors and galleries, sitting rooms and beds,
halls filled with gurneys and ghosts, cold shadows in white.

This death is in our hair and our eyes, it buzzes around us
like flies in summer but whispers that summer may not come.

Yet the emergency finally becomes us, the sea rolls in
full of hands and faces, filling the air with the salt

of exhaustion, of human sweat, each wave translucent
with brothers and sisters forged in the crystal of emergencies.

Now we are the wolves that cannot run in packs, we are the trees
forced to blend into the darkness. Now we walk knowingly

into the desert, the storm huddles us together, the morning
is the first morning, and the wind scatters our failures and misgivings.

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.

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Previously published in
Eleventh Transmission:
"Virus Testing Kit" by Eunice Tiptree.

Published June 29, 2020

45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic

The Coming Storm

by George Moore
(Shag Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada)
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