the plush spotted throat of a tiger lily
and embroider my lungs with tiny roses
in scarlet and burnt sienna.
It wants to gild me with fever
and dust my heart and kidneys
with glittering spikes
of glycoprotein. Covid
wants to fashion me a headdress
of invisible pearls that hang before me
and scatter as I speak, flung
to the crowd like Mardi Gras beads.
It wants to make a cutwork
of my guts, a frothy lace.
Don’t we all secretly long
for attention? Don’t we yearn
to be dressed in our own
extravagant distress? But I want
to keep breathing. I creep
around the edges of the grocery store,
an anxious mouse in a gray cotton mask,
as Covid keeps trying to pose me
like a statue, vein me with
cytokines, and inlay its ivory
in all my cells