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 editors@eksentrika.com. Oh, do read our Submission Guidelines first. Here’s another poem you might enjoy. 

POETRY | God’s Right Hand Man By Joe Chan

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