Under the Microscope
A scientist scrutinises a drop of liquid showcased on the slide
through his thousand times magnified lens, with steady eyes
wide to its vitality, globules imitating the curve of the world,
global scope of this vaccine enough to rattle the technician,
the safety of billions, praying for an effective antibody,
tubes of cytoplasm racked in platoons against the invisible enemy.
Who would be them, is the question, and their colleagues,
in various countries globally with their pipettes and droplets,
quiet work at least, tense silence of study, the air tight with hope,
sterilised hands and gloves and masks, eyes covered by goggles,
hair plastered down by white caps, this alien virus they combat
covering more column inches of newspaper than any war.
These apocalyptic memories help spur the scientists along,
they all want the horror to be over, to expunge the oddity
of subways filled with masked marauders, some in heels and mascara,
of massive invasive adverts about covid adding to the oppression,
the sense of death everywhere, behind every door, lurking
on every handle, on metal bannisters, on lovers’ wet lips.