A virus may press up against you
on the tube, but at least it has the decency
to call you back after a one-night stand.
Yet just when think the virus belongs to you,
you see it on Facebook getting in on
with Sharon from the office, or Bob
who you almost knew in middle school. No one
can really own a virus, and this
makes the virus happy as it stretches out
in its deckchair in the park,
enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend
and ignoring your calls. The virus
has taken off its shirt, and itís not wearing
any sun-block. Its transistor radio
is playing just a fraction too loud
as it lights a tinfoil barbecue and places it
directly on the grass. A virus
can be remarkably hard to retract
if you accidentally blurt it out, say,
when youíre expecting the answerphone,
readying your carefully rehearsed message,
and then the virus picks up unexpectedly.
At home, the virus kicks back and relaxes
with reruns of I dream of Jeannie
and doesnít get bored. This virus
is the sort of virus that fancies itself
as a genie. It likes the idea of granting wishes
that get out of hand in ways you didnít see coming.
And you know how it goes with genies:
pop the stopper, rub your ungloved hand
up against the brass, and out it comes,
suddenly too big to fit back in again.
The virus is always just passing through.
It has grown fond of farewells.
It likes to wave goodbye,
then pause, and wave again.