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Poem by Staff Writer Melissa Nunez

Cars pack parking lots like pennies in a roll

Patrons peek-a-boo the social and the distant

Most establishments adopting a maybe-mask mentality

and in this state vaccines even less likely to be mandate

A show of solidarity for sojourning summer

despite the susceptible or those who suffer

Able bodies not to be burdened by disease discarnate

Whereas the corpus alienum houses danger of deception,

lying dormant until catalyst crossing;

Whereas release into our midst allows the mingling of

the unknown and the unknown;

Whereas their presence prophesies protests of posterity,

we must negate prospective disaster.

Most people play pack-mule to invisible invaders. Penetrating pores, sucking sebum from the follicles of faces. Colonized from birth by microscopic mites generated over generations—ancestry in memoriam. Legacies squirm in our skin, heritage habitually housed in safety of sealed tissue and veins freely transferred upon contact of epithelium. I secret my ancestors in my secretions, tracing trails that traverse countries and their collapsible partitions.

All of this to say:

You cannot keep out what already is in.


Melissa Nunez is an avid reader, writer and homeschooling mother of three. She lives in the Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas—a predominantly Latin@ community. She writes both essays and poetry inspired by observation of the natural world, the dynamics of relationships, and the question of belonging. Her work has been featured in FOLIO, Yellow Arrow Journal, and others.

Image by Edwin Hooper

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