I                stitch two cloth fabrics together

a simple face mask for them

They         push, pull, swab a dirty mouth

moist with inaudible demise

I              start on the right side

sew a steady stout line

They         touch a tool over a flaming forehead

like a priest making the sign of the cross

praying for a quiet number not deadly or high

I               double stitch over reluctant elastic

a woman sings on the radio like a cat’s lament

They       listen for the racing bang of a heart

a topography of mountainous terrain

I                press, baste cotton to ¼ inch

held by a thread of gray hope

They         lay the body down into plastic tubes

the color of daylight breaks skin

I               break bread the taste of sand and burlap

my only sustenance while sewing these shields

They            force lungs to expand

a metal machine pushing a chest

into piercing peaks and lilac valleys

I                   sit up walk around my sewing machine

my shoulders tight like my stitch

They            unstitch the lung monster from a silent lung

a quiet heart now, no time to sob

I                   fold three lifeless pleats

sew to complete in my silent room

safe for today from the needy lung monster

Ten minutes and                      they and I

will begin, again

© 2020 Raquel B. Mejia