COVID-19 | NIGHT TERRORS
All night, you’re walking away from you like
somebody trying to exit. You’re here but you’re not
here. Your body isn’t yours, belongs to what inhabits
it (habitable is not hospitable).
All night, high fevers brand you, rolling you like the
sea (skin, a subterranean, stained from inside-out),
all-encompassing in their motility, whole-body
You feel fully awake, and three doors down from
death, three clicks away from nothingness (fever, a
peak experience), an obscured field of vision, your
fear existing in the same field of view, a paroxysm
All night, your heartbeat beats you. Your heart
leaping away from you (another kind of horse), your
pulse lodged in your throat (in here, your only voice).
Your body a strange engine, blinking you as traffic
lights, trapped in vehicular movement until you’re
merely momentary, whole-body contradiction,
whale inside you just under your skin. Your body
flashing on and off like lights sucked out to sea, wavy
tempered windows of frantic amber and blue.
COVID-19 | THE PAST SPEAKS TO THE FUTURE
You’ll never understand it until it’s happening to
you. People getting sick, the world emptying out, and
you think it won’t affect you until you lose someone
you know. Whole families are lost, mundane
dynasties. Their lives as uninteresting case study,
intertwined only as permissive rubbernecking.
Your feelings are your only form of compliance. You
feel here but you won’t feel here until it’s happening
to you. The world is wailing numbers of the dead,
thin air around you as a lead stone sinking to the sea.
You’ll marvel at the erraticness you see (surety of a
rarity), scanning the sky for signs of an eclipse,
something to mark the beginning of this place you’re
going to. Nothing here will fight for you or feel like
it’s fighting for you.
You’ll think you’re living through something, that
you’re something new, and not a scratchy record
skip, self-similar coastline sliver, blurry and
indistinguishable (small tragedies masking large
ones). The world isn’t changing so much as it is
There is nothing you can do here, but you still can’t
step away. All night, your terror wakes you, your
heart a galloping horse, your breath leaping away
from you. The past, a tuneless sadness you ignored
before it was living in you (even when you were
ringed around with numbers of the dead).
B00k Recommendation: The Black Death: A Chronicle of the Plague by Johannes Nohl
Hannah Rodabaugh has an MFA from Naropa University and an MA from Miami University. She is the author of With Words: Verse in Concordance (Dancing Girl Press), We Don’t Bury Our Dead When Our Dead Are Animals (Another New Calligraphy), and We Traced The Shape Of Our Loss To See Your Face (Angel House Press). Her work has been published in Anti-Narrative Journal, Berkeley Poetry Review, ROAR Magazine, Horse Less Review, K’in Literary Journal, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, The Wire’s Dream Magazine, Written River, Used Furniture Review, and Nerve Lantern, among others. She’s received grants from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the Alexa Rose Foundation, and has twice been an Artist-in-Residence for the National Park Service. She lives in Boise, where she works as a teaching writer for The Cabin.