Viral Load, by Carol Barbour


Corpuscles beneath thinning hair and ravaged skin
No time to re-dress the way it was done.

A viral word travels a long time to find a willing host
From hand to mouth it yearns for something far away.

Handkerchiefs are washed and ironed
Seashell cavities smell divine.

Brick, mortar, stone, minds soften ivy coils
Sacred burial ground, marble busts talk out loud.

Weary page-turners grace infinite halls
Leading to a studiolo, crowned with theory.

The hidden entrance is obfuscated
By a ball of wool spun with guilty longings.

A face unravels at the crease
Pressing out before the mirror.

An aberration in miniature
A phantom illness, awaiting the cure.