(a small unravelling of John Donne)
No island is an island, though each tragedy is itself,
the photograph of a man finding his dead sheep
after the blaze has passed his home,
firefighters in a forest
the source of the resin
that is the island’s livelihood.
Firefighters come from so many places,
historic enemies even,
part of the continent of human life,
and the world watches.
Your loss diminishes us,
say Turkey, the United States,
Albania, Russia, fighting their own fires.
Your fire drowns us, say other islands,
(also not islands)
waiting for tropical storms,
and also the flooding places,
and those with the heat that kills.
And, like each handful of dirt,
each rocky promontory of grief,
each broken, buried, burned home of a friend,
as the old poet mentions,
is each elder, each adult, each child
who dies of coronavirus,
leaving a footprint
our island held by its star.