Pestilence

Rooja Mohassessy


[Editor's note: The following is part of a special series on the coronavirus pandemic, featuring original poems and essays by contributors to The Bare Life Review. New entries will be added every Tuesday and Friday. Previous entries in the series can be found here.]



At eighty strokes per second, two grams blur into a speck blotching my screen.

Bahman Mohassess. Technicians. 1990. Graphite pencils. Copyright © Estate of Bahman Mohassess

The Amethyst Woodstar, explains the voice over, now flies on the verge of the world.

The amaranthine flume’s run dry. It’s drawn over a thousand views like a rare double lotus, no thumbs down. I swipe left to the window where the virus covers ground in Mashhad.

Struck down as at a public stoning, the final blow to the back of the head—a woman collapsed in a pile everyone skirts around like a detour. I’m certain she’s below

the median age and breathing. I pause, replay the clip to be sure. Shamefaced, I type in the search box for more of the same. Carnage is infectious, I can’t help

touching my face. I pray someone will touch me when my turn comes, my throat bruised violet like the gorget of a Woodstar.


Rooja Mohassessy is from Iran. She currently lives in Northern California and is pursuing an MFA in poetry at Pacific University. Her poems can be found in California Fire and Water: An Anthology of Poems, and in journals such as The Woven Tale Press, and Poet Lore. Her poem, "Eggplants," appeared in TBLR Volume 2.

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