Downhill on a Bone Bicycle,

Dictionary for a Pandemic

a stockpile of language you never thought you’d need, 

but because the pandemic comes on so fast, 

this is so you’ll be ready for the next time, 

may it never come

 

                                    Margaret Parker, 2020

A

 

 alphabet, key to the interlocking puzzle parts of words, 

   families of sound, in memorized order, 

   if tossed into disarray the alphabet snaps back into place, 

   a filing system for random lost things, 

   please, be my guide through these

   unspeakable times

anguish

anxiety

anger

ambulances, sirens coming, drivers out, equipment,

   medics, questions, terror, sirens, 

            sirens,            

            sirens

animals, our wily older brothers who still can’t talk, 

            first passed this virus on to us humans  

apocalypse 

apples

 

age, older people are most susceptible to the virus, 

            (see chronic diseases, see clusters, see I)

advice from scientists:

             stay inside, stay away from your elders

advice from mothers:

   stay inside, get some exercise, 

   leave the city, leave the country,

   don’t leave me

association, a favorite social gathering 

   (see families, see forbidden, see infection)

anchovies

 

all around the world, people wait, 

   terrified, when will it get to us?

afterwards, terrorized, when will it be over?

antibodies, grace of immunity left to the once infected, 

            will it save them 

            next time?

 

Americans, we’re all in this together, right?

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