Listen to Jan read this poem here.
And so you sit in the chair to which you have been guided
by the white-cloaked angel, your own pew among many
sprinkled around this cathedral of inoculation,
filled with other souls like you, each tended by an angel
who asks them to bare an upper arm — which one?
your choice — and you choose, wondering, as you do
so often these days, if it’s the right choice, the best choice.
If there is such a thing anymore.
And you have waited for this, prayed for this deliverance,
and now it is here, and you wish you could see the smile
of the angel at your shoulder, lifting tiny bottle to
delicate needle, but the angel’s lower face is shrouded,
upper face shielded, and you want to clutch one of
the angel’s blue-gloved hands, say, thank you
because you have read about the more than 2 million
around the world who would have loved to sit
where you do now.
And the angel says, “Take a deep breath,” and you do,
and you barely feel the prick of hope deliver the promise
of safety from the unseen demon that floats into the
unsuspecting, some of whom you know, some of whom
you loved. And you smile up at the angel, who,
you imagine, smiles back under the mask, who says,
“There you go,” and suggests you sit a bit, to rest
in this holy place.
And you do, gazing above your own mask at the olders
spaced so far apart, gray and white heads anchored
in the gentle sea of angels, reminded that you are
among the fortunate, with many decades behind you,
perhaps one ahead of you, if you’re lucky, your odds
greatly increased thanks to the little card in your hand,
the blesséd testament of new science delivered unto you.
And when you rise, you inhale deeply,
find your footing and walk, grateful to do so,
toward the exit, toward the light.