Coronavirus Meditations, Poems Written Under Quarantine

Coronavirus Meditations, Poems Written Under Quarantine

Before Dawn

The sleepers travel deep into the country:

finding fallen-by, leaked feeding-thistles

with poison extracted by bewildered officers

through stomachs too damaged from blind roads.

Dreams break in them.

Berries boil skulls from calories

of night-seeing in them.

The landfills become trays

of chimney swifts:

dough of birds,

yolk of orchids:

ovens burrowing in the compost.


Womanness crouches within her.

If saltwater speaks of angels,

shows sketches along chimera nerves,

then could rain behind her cells

replace my mother?

A young mouth opens to the surface

in a thunderstorm. A corpse

holds a match before diving into

the overflow: a painting of an acre

raptured from Europe. Bombs trapped

in her ears. She smooths the surface closed

and extinguishes the flame.


Light-adrift: a sickened archangel.

In untangling days, trash nets capture bodies

eating food the universe grows.

The migration of bones. Fish cry out

with beaten faces. The embankment crawls

from olive water. Forgive my freezing howl,

says a Psalmist. Before bed, the listening rain

releases unbearable things.


Everything in the flesh that has not yet

acquired form . . .

Irradiated finches nesting in hospital birches. 

Children with faces of cinnamon and frankincense.

Spider dust at night fall rooting with tinder smoke.

Ashen birds gathering in oyster clouds.

Eyes of withering blackberries dyeing the snow.

Small portions of fallout becoming lungs,

scattering breath like bell-buoys impersonating the air.


Perfect fullness being flowers.

Like Lazarus in the dark dragging

saltwater roots through the driveway.

Concrete attempts at replanting snipped

rooftop sonatas. The raised beds

of smoke trail gardens and the first birds

to sing counter-clockwise: 

Perching on algae’d-teeth. Resting on

nests of lice hatchlings. The world meant-to-be

lived in: gristle fields of blanched dropsy

spun by an infected, distant heaven.


A boy spouts seawater in violent couplets.

In the overdosed bodies, rise combers of

golden traffic, of recorded coughs and winter-dead:

tossing the best recollections of who was wanted to be.

Wood, coal and nuclear dreams:

Darwin of Creation, bugs trying to be believed—

what wingless birds have we become?

Meaning cannot be in a forgotten room

for a stranger.


I went under quarantine for COVID-19 during last April. During that time, I watched must of the world pass outside my bedroom window and these poems are meant to convey the isolation and hope during that time.

About the Artist

Nick Hilbourn,  Chester County
Published:  February 3, 2021