Catching a Virus

It moves on through direct or indirect contact;
through using a go between like a mosquito;
through our defense mechanisms:
vomiting, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea.
We catch it by not washing our hands,
by touching a door handle then our mouth
by breathing the air close to someone infected
by being bitten, kissing, from drinking water …

It has a heart of nucleic acid,
within a lipid envelope, spiked with protein
that hook onto our cells, injects nucleic acid –
hijacks our cells, and replicates.
We send out gobbling white blood cells
and run a fever and end up feeling
wretched, until we decode the spike,
and make antibodies.

It is not calculating. Unthinking
it mutates and jumps from another species
and becomes a strain that can attack our cells.
It mutates, and produces a new variant
that moves easily between us.
It mutates and disguises its spike
and becomes immune to a stored antibody.
It mutates and drives us apart.

(Written for share a poem in Feb 2021 where the theme is Science.)

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