#FlattenTheCurve: Stay Safe by Ace Boggess

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The new goodbye, aloha, bon voyage,
Godspeed—last words that may not be
last words. A hint of hope in them
like waiting for a favorite song on the radio,
also terror we might never share a next refrain.
Stay safe, I tell you. Translate: Please
don’t die or serve death on your finest china.
Stay safe, you reply. I know what you mean.
There are voices that whisper &
those that shout, but honest prayers
are the ones we keep to ourselves.

 

 

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming 2021.

#FlattenTheCurve: Lockdown, Day Three by Ace Boggess

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Sun is out after days of clouds
that left their grief as a parting gift.

I step outside, & pollen marshals troops.
It scratches my throat. I cough &

think, Is this it? Have I died &
not yet figured it out? God,

why does my brain corrupt
a peaceful moment in the light?

Even here in my comfortable prison,
the virus that can’t reach me does

until I panic at a bead of sweat,
a little ache, a misspent breath.

It’s a beautiful morning
to write my own obituary.

Somewhere else, it’s raining—
each drop a survivor of the storm.

 

 

Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming 2021.