Year of the Plague
There have been plagues, before. There has been death,
spreading like a blanket drawn across
the face of the world. There will always be fear,
of war, of famine, all of those abysmal
things which are too big for us to picture,
but when the world ends it’s always small,
unbearably personal — and just for us.
You told me, after my heart had stopped,
and I came back, that the loss of me
would be apocalyptic. And when I woke
your face seemed to glow. Certainly, you fed
me something good, and warm. My blood mattered
less. My spilled blood, replaced with drippings
from a plastic bag. And now you are cold,
sequestered — a plague curls its claws against
the windowpane and there is no shelter,
not for me, inside or out. I taste
blood in my throat. And I can’t see you.
Bethany W Pope has won many literary awards and published several novels and collections of poetry. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described Bethany’s latest book as ‘poetry as salvation’…..’This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.’ She currently lives and works in China.