Imagine the media coverage
of the Black Death, whole
families boarded up to die inside,
the comic bring-out-your-dead carts,
cameras on location by the mass graves,
Shakespeare, the Globe closed,
Lear televised to the yokels.
Tired of YouTube, my bored daughter
draws over and over
stick figures with straw hair
like the thatch of the round
red hut in a boma,
outside whose prickly perimeter
patient lions pace.
from the Old French (first used 1617,
along with virulence, withoutdoors,
The rest of us cower (cringe, grovel,
quail) inside, while out on the highway,
the hiccups (hiccoughs?) of Harleys
changing gears, flaunting
the bravado of bare faces.
A far-off murmuring
has been going all morning,
like a rumor
or maybe a mower
over a lawn with no end.
Or as if all our ears
are being held to the same shell.
Or maybe now we’re just
hearing it, the giant mosquito
that never bloats
on earth-blood, this buzz
of invisible things.
William Greenway’s Selected Poems won the 2014 FutureCycle Press Poetry Book of the
Year Award. His 10th collection, Everywhere at Once (2008), won an Ohioana Poetry
Book of the Year Award, as did his 8th , Ascending Order (2003), both from the University of Akron Press. His publications include Poetry, American Poetry Review, Georgia Review, Southern Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and Prairie Schooner. He lives in Ephrata, PA.