Many thanks to Youngstown’s native son Dr. Gaylord for sharing this poem with us.
Ode for COVID 19
Covid 19, so much to adore.
Your lightning journey around the world
Hitchhiking in the cells of human travelers
Riding shedded droplets
Is no less an adventure than our noble attempts to explore the universe.
Not alive, you stir the passions of an entire species when you changed ever so slightly the RNA
strands nested in your womb
And then quietly, like a soft breath blowing out a candle, went dancing in the air into your host
Finding fertile ground then multiplying and filling cellular minions uncountable as the stars.
I can’t help but admire your tiny package with simple threads of chemical code that becomes “us”;
When you stab medieval spikes through our last protective lining and empty your load into the
very cells we need to breathe, and hence to live;
No wall nor team of tyrants can stop you.
But your cowardice is revealed as you attack the weak and drown them — from within — in their
Leaving them lifeless with lungs soaked like sponge in the ocean.
And when you prey upon us using our own kind as carriers making us unwitting accomplices,
Our unwitting baptism allowing your greasy membrane coating to explode your vile contents so
carefully transported to avoid detection strike through an armor of mace-like tentacles
Creating a path of utter destruction in those who cannot respond.
But still, a small group of people spread over those very airways and wet surfaces you traveled
and who, in a global effort, are weaving a trap of tools that your hosts and victims created
exclusively for you.
We can find your RNA sequence, we can find your composition and structure.
We can kill you with the simplicity of soap and water. And we can work to smother you with
antibodies stimulated by pieces of your body. We have a loom, and we will make a fine prison
for you. Your clever method of escape will keep us busy, but we will not fail.
Covid 19, you are not life
Covid 19, you are not alive.
And we refuse to die.
Gregg M. Gaylord, MD, was born in Cleveland and raised Youngstown. He attended Rayen and Liberty High School, and graduated with the class of 1972 before studying psychobiology and philosophy at NYU. He graduated in 1981 from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. He is a fellow in the Society of Interventional Radiology and Medical Director of the Vascare Ambulatory Surgery Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.