A Lesson On Immunology

let go of my throat
so I can cough

free your fear
from my trachea

my diaphragm
is exploding

I step onto the subway
with white flags

tacked to my skin
I whisper to my nose

begging please

don’t run
then take ten paces

to the nearest empty seat
my mom calls

to tell me the Chinese aunties
are sharing videos on WeChat

of Asians in white masks
getting their lungs

ripped out their chests
by white men searching for weapons

of mass destruction
she cries there’s no use

in wearing white
masks in public

we’re under attack
either way

our bodies at war
with the world

and a virus

so I close my eyes
and imagine a day

I no longer feel like a guest
in my own country

I hold my breath
waiting

for when I’m the host
and not the pathogen


—Kyle Liang (from Glass: A Journal of Poetry)