Katherine Fiveash is a naturalist, teacher, homesteader, and writer. She divides her year between Florence, Massachusetts (Hampshire County), and Isle au Haut, Maine, a remote, unbridged island in Penobscot Bay. She is the author of Island Naturalist, an award-winning collection of natural history essays, and two chapbooks of poetry.
The Chinese horseshoe bat is innocent,
and the pangolin with its sticky tongue.
The hungry hunter, hawking his wares among
the stalls, had no hideous intent.
Even the virus does not represent
good or evil as it infects the lung,
does not choose the old over the young,
does not know disease is an event.
We know that we may sicken and die alone,
struggling to breathe, lacking the power of speech,
love in a vacuum, touch beyond our reach,
the last connection images on a phone.
More than death, this is what I fear,
the loneliness of having no one near.