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In the Pink

Thrice jabbed I may be, but that tiny scrap of RNA
has laid me flat. I’m fairly banjaxed. Day by mournful day
I lie in bed, refusing comfort, music, books or food
and hosting an unwelcome frequent visitor: a mood
which whispers to me, ‘John, your every enterprise has failed.’
Stupid, I know, I know. A greater John than I bewailed
‘the vast shipwreck of my life’s esteems’. Poor man; and he
had cause enough. This poet doesn’t merit sympathy
while bailing out his little dinghy which has sprung a leak.
But there it is; the moping misery persists a week.
Excessive sleeping day and night affords no mental rest.
Each morning I submit four nasal droplets to the test.
First one stripe, then a pause, and then the fateful second line:
its brutal message unequivocal, incarnadine.

The second week draws on. A subtle change: I start to think
the daily T stripe may be nuancing in shades of pink
from shocking, via salmon, baby, through to merest blush:
less paint than water on the watercolour artist’s brush.
Could I be getting better? In comparing stripe with stripe,
the sinking man’s reverting to an optimistic type.
Hope springs. It’s not eternal, but at least it hasn’t died,
and spring, a welcome visitor, is in the street outside.
The best news is the chemist’s PCR: I’m in the clear.
Six million of my fellow humans dead, but I’m still here.