a socially-distant villanelle, for world poetry day

A poem I wrote a while back, revised for today, which is World Poetry Day. In villanelle form, about isolation in a university dorm, seems relevant to pandemic-propagated events. Pardons, ads may or may not appear.


For now, there’s no one watching over you
except this building closing like a cloak
across your windows ’til the breath turns blue

inside. Refrigerator music through the walls,
the whistling liquid thick as yolk;
you sleep but no one’s watching over you

to say that structures will get lonely, too.
Between the neon and the empty Coke
machines, we hold our breath ’til we turn blue.

The night turns navy bright, a crowing crew:
their laughs which could be screams came in and woke
you up, but no one’s watching over you

to meet your eyes and stuff your ears with dew.
That elsewhere scream gets louder, like a joke
does not get funnier. Morning turning blue

outside, the dark goes flying through a flue.
In case of fire, you’ll need to clear the smoke
yourself, since no one’s watching over you
to see if you exchange your breath for blue.

(Villanelles are fairly tricky to write, so it seemed more expedient to recompose rather than re-begin. For intended scansion, please view in landscape.)

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