It might be that Mona Lee was losing her mind. Astride her bolster, looking out the French windows, not able to fly away, her gaze turned inward; she wondered what sanity really was, and if she could keep it while people were dying, others working so hard, while she was ordered to be old and lazy. Netflix and Amazon were failing to divert. Spring beauty was everywhere outside. The green of it never failed to raise a wisp of happiness, so she took it in, breathed it in to feel gratitude. Wkwak, wkwak, a great raven, so much larger than any she had ever seen swept the proscenium of her view, whacking his wings on trees, back and forth, with wild purpose of some kind. The raven, the raven, the word raven and the computer that was the brain spewed up speeches, standing before directors being Lady Macbeth. She laughed at herself the actor, the woman, the lover, and all the speeches that still speak in our heads from five centuries ago, from lips that will be as cold as Yorik's soon. Remembering, not remembering she made her own:
The raven himself is hoarse
and croaking the news of
Duncan is not coming
under my entitlements
I will not be queen.
Gone thick night, where
morning steals the thoughts of hell
Is there any purpose left?
Sexed or no sex?
Kill or be killed?
Nature gives no hoot or holler
for woman's milk or gall or
Mother crows are feeding,
Raven the great and sleek
without a collar
and hungry seagulls from the coast.
Mona Lee was back on her bolster after some weeks away suffering from dullness and lethargy, depression, she supposed, not wanting to take a ride outside the French windows of the Sycamore apartment. Trees were spring sprouting at last, softening her view from the second story down into the land of the great super market and the magical store of food for pets. She was ready to ride. Her knees settled with difficulty. It was necessary to raise her behind on another folded blanket to achieve any comfort. Lifting her upper body away from her lower, filling her lungs with fresh-ish air, she gave a quick thought of thanks to an Indian yoga master called Iyengar, closed her eyes, and opened them immediately.
PANDEMIC, she said aloud.
Will she live? Will Gus? He was suffering. He and his pub gene buddies were texting each other photos of the beers they usually shared in the bars of the Farmers market. Like favorite pets. No pub for a pub gene man? This was trauma. In a long line at the super market, a young woman moved quickly away from Mona Lee, assessing her age. She was staying home now. Massive food trucks roared into the lot like great beasts of burden, lowering their heads into the loading dock, groaning, whining, and squealing, their bellies opened up scraped clean with fork lifts and dollies, delivering us humans from evil, saving us the terrible task of wiping our asses with leaves.Praise to the farmers, she said. She revised the thought. Praise be to the small farmers, the families and their employees. As for the corporate ones who sit on their behinds collecting money, raising CEO pay and profiting from the misery of people who do all the WORK for them, may you all die of the virus—pandemic to you, she said. Praise and thanks be to those who pick and sort and wash and organize and make it possible for us all to eat another day. Gratitude to you!
Her knees began to smart, her legs and feet throbbed. Tomorrow, she said, tomorrow I will stay longer, I will meditate. Yes, tomorrow is another day. Maybe.
MONA LEE felt it was wrong of her yesterday to wish corona virus death on CEOs and passive income gluttons. Sort of.
"Humans aren't much," she said to Gus, blocking his view of the television. "We are fragile."
"I wonder if the pot stores are open. Essential to life, " Gus said.
The line at the supermarket stretched around the block again. Gus was wandering about in his underwear having an anxiety attack. Only Grayboy the cat slept like a baby.
Mona mulled: Humans are one bad drought, flood or crop away from extinction. Like a snow leopard, one vole, mole or goat away from non-being. A no-go for the species. The earth has to keep doing us a favor, though, and when it does, we store our grains and freeze our deer and sheep, and then, boy howdy do we go to town, building things, imagining everything, writing our way into massive libraries and constructing shining cities.
"Can't somebody shut him up," Gus screamed.
"Turn him off", Mona yelled back.
"I can't do it," he admitted.
"That's his strength! Turn him off."
We “seem” like something, Mona said out loud. Humans. Like a great piece of work. Like we might have a creator even greater than we are. We look so terribly hard and smart for this architect of the fish/foul and beast/human. What we find is one void, and beyond some lumps of rock, more void, and some whirlpools so black no light can escape. In what we find, we discover our ending. It will be cold and black and full of metals. We soldier on. Like a herd of nomads, we destroy a camp sight, cut down its trees, dirty the river beside it, and move on. There must be another oasis.
"That's a nasty question," the president said. "And you are fake."
"I wish he would get the virus," Mona said.