The Unexpected Happened - Bibiana Ossai

The announcement came mid-march in a one-room apartment in Ohio

a hellfire warning from a golden trombone with an elongated saqueboute–

by day, the sun no longer served as light nor the moon shone by night

it moved with the clouds, revolved with no one traveling but a mourning

thick darkness a respiratory illness that loomed and still looms over the earth


prisoners of a nouvelle virus like doves to their nests during a storm

we stay alone with loved ones, watchmen waiting for the world to open soon

empty airports, silent streets, an eerie tranquility mingles with our dying victims

we wash hands, cover noses, six feet apart, virtual worlds uproot social distancing

a wish upon a star is hope sorrow ends the way it began one morning

the juniper, the fir, the cypress remain amidst the chaos

we live in a moment where we must avoid each other like plagues, a sickness

nonetheless the world is closer than ever no discrimination, no segregation

the virus works in one accord with one voice one love towards a good future

for the ones alive, who have returned back and little ones entering the world


in a time of displacement, the need for hope, and desire for politicians to rise up

some individuals make sacrifices to fill up the ominous hole that scares and impales us

a way to survive is to know life is unknown, life and death are odds greatly linked

and when the world normalizes, schools will reopen, families will reunite


already early birds chorus their grief-soaked songs at dawn when it is most harmonious

snow cold for misty earthy mornings, soft wet smell like the quiet coronavirus

willows, silver and red maples, sap is flowing, sugar sheds are firing up some place

spring peppers western frogs sing loudly, quite a chorus at dusk peep peep

our breakthrough song like a thumb running along a comb, victory awaits you

Bibiana Ossai is the winner of the Equinox Journal 2019 Poetry Contest and a recipient of the Marilyn Boutwell Creative Writing Award from Long Island University's Humanities Department. Her works appear in The River, The Book Smuggler's Den, Refractions (iō literary online journal), and The Republic Journal. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree from LIU Brooklyn.

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