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Fashion Week, Milan 2020, a Poem by Donna Pucciani

Updated: Mar 4, 2022

For the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'

Fashion Week, Milan 2020 - Modern Poetry

The invisible seed of dread

dwells in the strap of a stiletto sandal

clicking down the runway

on a strand of tinsel-fringed skirt

hugging the thighs

of a fur-caped model.

Her oversized pout

camouflages her worry

about the train trip home

to the quarantined village

that is the epicenter of the plague.

After the show, which has just been moved

to an online venue by a famed designer

to prevent contagion, she rubs disinfectant

on her hands. A cluster of cases

has been borne on the breath of bats,

chewed in the maw of Satan himself,

then spat out onto the pathetic figure

of a thirty-something guy

who has never even been to China.

Taking out her cell phone, which may itself

be a carrier of more than wireless voices,

she phones her mother in Codogno.

Mama, there’s no more bread on the shelf,

but I can bring tinned soup. She disconnects,

wondering if even the phone she just held

carries the invisible evil of a new virus

that is nowhere and everywhere at once.

Stepping onto the metro, donning her mask,

she prays for the first time in years.


Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based writer, has published poetry worldwide in such diverse publications as Shi Chao Poetry, Poetry Salzburg, ParisLitUp, nebulab, Acumen, and Gradiva. Her seventh and most recent book of poems is EDGES.


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