Craig Santos Perez
Plastic Sonnet During the Pandemic
Before the pandemic, we avoid plastic,
but now we buy bottles of sanitizer,
bleach, and water. “Plastic is hygienic.”
When we leave the house, we wear
plastic gloves and N95 masks.
“Plastic keeps us safe from contagion.”
Patients in the overcrowded hospital
breathe with plastic ventilators
and tubes. “Plastic is the perfect creation
because it never gets sick.” The price of oil
and virgin polymers collapse.
“Every reusable plastic is a disease vector.”
Does plastic finally feel essential?
Is our single-use body disposable?
Flower Sonnet During the Pandemic
Our daughter holds my hand
as we walk besides the stream.
If a forest remains intact,
viruses will live in harmony
with all other species.
Down the path, a family
moves away from us.
What is the distance between
a safe world I imagined for her,
and this? She picks up
a plumeria and says, “flower.”
The peak has yet to come.
The next pandemic is already
beginning to bloom.
Craig Santos Perez is an indigenous Chamoru poet from the Pacific Island of Guam. He is the author of five poetry books and the co-editor of five anthologies. He teaches at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa.