The Vaccine Won’t Prevent This

The long-hailed solution to our big problem has arrived.

I want people to be safe, I want us to be healthy and free, 
but I don’t want to be vaccinated against what I’ve seen.

I don’t want to be injected so 
we can go back to the way things were.

Needles and vials returning us to a world 
where producing was the dominant art form,
where days were subdivided into rectangles of time,
where we were stretched until we forgot the shape of our own selves.

I don’t want to be returned to a world
where ‘nothing to do’ meant something was wrong,
where the shy person inside was dragged along until she was tattered,
never given a chance to speak,
where the panoply of human activity made me dizzy
until I stumbled and fell.

What will prevent us from replacing our masks
with face coverings we can’t see? 
Walking around as if in costume, 
the imaginary spotlight always asking: 
is my life interesting, dramatic, memorable?

Where is the vaccine to protect us from a world 
where we worship people with power and step on those with none?
Where humans are divided into ever smaller categories, 
peering at each other from behind the walls.

When we go back, will it still be normal
that the closing of a restaurant means that
some will lose their homes, and others will simply order in?

Are we broken enough to forget and start all over again? 
Have the waves of chaos washed over our eyes so we may see anew?

How will we bear being vaccinated,
then walk back into world that is still sick?