Magazine June 1, 2020, Issue

In Time of Pestilence

2-year-old Bianca Toniolo looks at an illustration of a microscopic view of the new coronavirus, San Fiorano, Italy, March 2, 2020. (Marzio Toniolo/Reuters)

“Bring out your dead!”
— Daniel Defoe, A Journal of the Plague Year

magnified it looks like a magnetic mine
from an ancient war, outmoded long ago,
come back to wreak destruction on our world:
A virus smaller than a microdot,
all but invisible, virulent
beyond belief. Who would have ever thought
such a mere speck could wipe our species out?
enlarged resembling a lethal birthday cake
lit with the candles of our infected blood,
redder than any rose or waxen seal.
Avatar of nothing but our end,
fouler than monster movie freak or fiend.

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Letters

A reader responds to Theodore Kupfer and Ramesh Ponnuru’s article, “Coronavirus Lockdowns: Going the Distance.”

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