Three heart emoticons pop up
on my whatsapp, from a guy
many air flights away
Lockdown. Malaysian borders are shut. ‘Everyone can fly’ but not when Coronavirus invades faster than Thanos. My travel plans are reduced to the grocery stores.
He says he misses me, asks how am I doing?
Shows me the flood disaster outside his yellow dusted
apartment that kills a few. His city reeks of revolution
anytime, waiting for Hulk to appear.
The Ironman we put on the Prime Minister’s throne to save us from corrupt villains resigned
and replaced overnight by his ex-comrade, a quiet Marvel turned traitor. The new Loki leader sips from his golden goblet. Is it infected with backdoor germs?
Face palms. He says
it is the same where he is. Minorities
are trampled Ant-men.
Malaysians want to seek Avenge, betrayed with a mocked election in 2018. 566 cases of Covid-19 overnight. Open protests are suicidal. Where are our Guardians of the Malaysian Galaxy?
He says there is something wrong
with the world. I empty my heart
with crying emojis, lit candles
and frown of Thor’s lover
1809 deaths in Italy. Pope Francis exhorts priests to not leave the people alone spiritually. I watch videos of Italians singing on their balconies. Superheroes still find ways into each other’s lives despite physical barriers.
I told him he is in my prayers.
Three more bright red hearts.
Stay at home. Limited screenings. Healthcare workers in a war. Do we have Quicksilvers to build hospitals as fast as Wuhan? Will Loki guard, fight or flee?
I tell him people are panicking
over sanitizers and toilet papers. He jokes
to send over. His people are relaxed. Not us ~
anxious Asians who are crying out
for Spider-man to save us, running out of masks.
Oil prices drop. My non-black panther car is happy but there is nowhere to go. Complete lock up and recession will attack soon. Half of human lives might not be wiped out as Thanos wanted but would we be half dead then?
Laughing with sweat drops. Monkey face
sees, hears and speaks no evil. We are
on the same ride, continents away.
The area I frequent has a confirmed case. My 80 year old aunty and uncle lives there for more than fifty years, eating out every morning and night. Now, they stock up Ah Huat Kopi-O sachets at home but still they refuse to stay in. They will have to now. They are more vulnerable than I am. I must check on them soon but what if I am an asymptomatic carrier?
I tell him I love my coffee hot.
He replies he like it anytime, any day.
I wear a white dress and receive Holy Communion for the last time before Catholic mass suspension begins nationwide. The screens take over, live stream online, worn hands united on our chests. I will never take the Eucharist for granted again.
He says God keeps you safe
Two hearts before he ghosts me
I wipe my phone with alcohol based lens wipe cleaner
Disinfects our conversations
I pray he is shielded
I exhale three hearts
over and over
to the estranged family and friend
to my rojak country
to that person who may never cross my path again
Note: I wrote this to show solidarity and unity, not only locally but globally in trying to keep things normal despite the lockdown. Malaysians should stay strong despite religion, race, background or political beliefs. We should reach out to one another virtually while we stay at home. Sending a hello through Whatsapp costs us nothing.
Hey guys, we’re looking for more short stories, poems and essays. If you’ve got some and aren’t shy to share it with the world, please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Oh, do read our Submission Guidelines first. Here’s another poem you might enjoy.