Broken pipe/May 24/Death toll 97,672

Sliced fingers hover over dirty carpets
desperate to scrape together commonality
What has been shattered here is a vehicle
to lucent yellow edged haze
a viscous and formative yolk
Suspending the jittery dust feathered wings
of my anxiety bashing itself against this wall
erected in fear between ourselves and the outsider
Unseeable and deadly after a liquor balm
cold comfort and hot night terrors
I inhale and contain as I hope we all contain
not multitudes but probability
after which Humpty Dumpty fell
a vessel of uncertain and infinite possibility
yellow ichor dripped all into the gutter
and dried as it will in the sun
tacky, corroding the paint.
Crowning virulent glory juxtaposed
by the haloes of plastic tubing and machine
anointed in hydroxychloroquine, in paper vestments
discarded saints, March feet first into cold storage
no shuffling shall cross contaminate this mortal coil
the shuttling of legion corpses’ names darken broadsheets
grown lengthy and sparse with doublespeak
Uncovered faces corpulent gaping and a spittle mist
in fine droplets beats the time of year long thin
a hammered aegis of crushed hope
moth wing wafer against the creeping plutonic stab
it all drips and drains dry into cisterns overflowing
which still grow deep as the pathetic void
of the oligarchal heart.

Portrait of Anxiety (The Worm)

Reclined, indisposed
disinclined toward the chest’s rise and fall
a pale worm in the sunlight
unwashed chicken skin,
filmed with incense smoke
shriveling into its clothes
a reflecting eye stares out
into the cast of late afternoon
drafty room and empty
the absent phalanges scratch
punitive scalp sprouting
uncarded sheep’s wool
spooling misery
dressed in dark clothing
with a liberal cat hair sprinkle
sigh shift and blink
the flesh, began to hang off the bones, as if aversion
and shame stretch the squamous
the dermatillomania of thought
empty out the bottle,
a wealth of sanity in pink pill capsules
[custodial hands removed the caps of wounds]
Did it swallow down that pill today?
Did it drink enough water?
Remember to breathe.
Lie in state, the blind worm eating
fear flowers and choking them back up
graceful in repose
long limbs at a tipping point
on the run to fat
skin still glistening with waning shimmer
features still a fine construction
though, in holographic side view, hateful
— curate it, quick!
Carefully arranged, it will keep!
Fester, fester if left, if alone
too long without touch and sound
all fade, all fester — future tense
but now — O — what tableau
what surface gleam,
what beauty, what truth.
What fading strength.
Though, underneath,
on the psychic layer,
a hint — a waft
the smell of rot.

Erika Gill a is Denver, CO based writer originally from Southern California. She writes about music, books and cultural phenomena. Her creative work appears or is forthcoming in birdy. Magazine, Angel City Review, and MORIA. WEB INSTAGRAM