Sunday, June 14, 2020

New Poetry by Barbara De Franceschi

I Ask Florence Nightingale 

about the pandemic,
whether her stats would add up
in this modern day surge.
She is more concerned with comfort,
numbers and models 
fascinate her brain in the midnight hours
without surpassing the need to heal.

She explains her rebellion,
the call to a vocation
unfashionable at the time,
how marriage was considered and forsaken,
a wisp of regret flavours her tone.
I want to create a backstory:
bumpy kisses in a horse drawn cart,
bodies pressed together in a doorway
as a thunderstorm steams their blood.
Was there a tearful refusal?
Did her passion for remedies 
replace her carnal needs? 
I decide not to tamper with history
lest the agony of decision is revived.

She considers the flush of a toilet 
an exciting distraction, 
hand sanitisers a gift from God,
recalls the grief of septic wounds in wartime,
how applied hygiene could have saved 
many young lives.

She adjusts her mask, 
checks the protective gear, 
still hungry for the destiny that disables fear.

- © Barbara De Franceschi 2020

Barbara De Franceschi resides in the outback town of Broken Hill. Besides three collections of poetry her work has appeared in over 180 anthologies, newspapers and journals Australia wide, on-line and in other countries. As part of the Art in Health programme Barbara has served as artist-in-residence for the University Department of Rural Health.

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