2 Poems by MA|DE

And Then the Darkness Talks Back

Six feet, apart or under: pick your 
preposition. Death is grinning out of 
breath, cozying up to chalk circles 
and ringing bells in parks. A locust cloud 
interrupts your picnic; a spider, unseen, 
devours a cricket. Rain is on the event
horizon — will it come before evening,
will it come as frogs? The glaring sun 
says nothing one too many times.
A man falls in front of you, not quite 
six feet away. He is a ruler that you 
will measure as you step back, yielding 
to outbreak data. Swiss misanthropist 
now, violent science is a neutral border; 
try to never get involved. At home you
see the man fall over and over again,
a dusty film reel that won’t stop spinning. 
You are willing to become the receiver
for a friend with too much to spill. 
Safety is mediated by distance, plastic,
and words that are not your own. 
When the voice on the telephone clicks 
silent, you hear the night and cough 
up a cobweb into your hand. 

Who Will Save Us

Dogs? Our friends know the notes of each of 
Death’s perfumes: cancers, bombs, a virus in 
the lungs. We listen, but still miss the point.

AI? Intelligent agents can teach themselves
to write prescient prescriptions. They assist, 
waiting for doctors to prove them right. 

Circles? Shapes have shifted from geometric 
subjects to arithmetic lecturers, conducting mass 
classes in pandemic math. We add or subtract, 
circle back.

Mannequins? They stand stiff, checkerboarded 
between us and our hungry, exhaling enemies, 
like mediators or crossing guards. Seating has 
never been more limited.

Horseshoe Crabs? Canaries of the sea 
have blood of blue milk that is more delicate 
than human plasma, a perfect laboratory 
for testing purity. If they live, we live. 

Holy Water? Sometimes a gun is a blessing
that will keep you breathing. Sunday’s mass 
delusion blooms. Our rituals will not be diluted.

Ghosts? Up and down village streets go those
bones made of smoke, those scythes cut from silk, 
speaking to us in Latin alliteration. Memento mori.

We don’t know why but we run.


MA|DE (est. 2018) is a collaborative writing entity, comprising multidisciplinary artist Mark Laliberte and writer Jade Wallace, whose poetry has appeared in Vallum, PRISM International, Poetry Is Dead, and elsewhere. MA|DE’s most recent chapbooks are A Trip to the ZZOO (Collusion Books, 2020) and A Barely Concealed Design (Puddles of Sky Press, 2020). [ www.ma-de.ca ]

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