Sidewalk Face-Off

Poem by Melissa Balmain

Look! From opposite directions,
wearing masks to thwart infections,
two athletic pairs of spouses
march past neo-Tudor houses.
Sneakers pound and pulses quicken:
it’s a game of COVID-chicken!

Who will keep on striding forward,
chin and eyeballs firmly lowered?
Who will scurry six feet over
to the dog-doo-studded clover,
fearful that they’ll later sicken
thanks to playing COVID-chicken?

Every day the teams assemble.
Every day their innards tremble
like the innards of scared rabbits,
but they keep their walking habits:
in a world that’s stalled and stricken
there’s no sport but COVID-chicken. ◊

MELISSA BALMAIN is the Editor of Light, a journal of light verse. Her collection Walking in on People is often mistaken by online shoppers for some kind of porn.