A week before my surgery, I hear the news. It spreads quickly, like the virus. I have my knee replaced anyway. How bad can it be? As I lie in my bed high on oxycodone and Ed Sheeran, I am oblivious to the coming storm.

fever pitch the world dancing out of tune

It is a cold rainy morning, and I am late for my PT appointment. The walls in the room are
circus-blue and green, and everyone wears the mask. I slowly pedal my bike and wonder if anyone has considered the effects of long-term oxygen deprivation.

wall of mirrors the bearded lady takes it off

The therapists are having a conversation about the masks. They are cautiously optimistic. The young one warns about a new variant, the coming spike, and the fourth wave. Yes, I think, and the fifth, and the sixth, and the seventh.

apparatchik crushing the seed pods

It is a cold bright day in April. I wake up forgetting who I am or what I look like. I live alone with the television, just in case. I can still remember a few words and something about

red death behind the masque only eyes

after The Masque of the Red Death
Edgar Allan Poe

Susan Beth Furst


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