When the Enemy Is Microscopic

In the midst of this pandemic, I’ve teamed up with local Bay Area artist, Lora Arbrador, for this ekphrastic poem to discuss the challenges and sacrifices that our health care workers are facing as they battle COVID19. Lora recently featured her painting, Scene From Surgery II: Compassion, on her social media platform, which seemed very fitting and speaks to our current medical crises. I’ve been following Lora Arbrador’s work since 2002, and she is one of the only artists I know who carries her vast medical knowledge as a seasoned registered nurse into her visual art. As the current administration gravely fails to battle this disease that is on its way to taking countless lives in this country due to the gross unavailability of testing, I look to real heroes—our health care workers—who, unwavering, remain on the frontlines fighting this world war with every shred of compassion and selflessness in their bones.

For more information about Lora Arbrador, please visit her page in the Featured Artists section.

Scene From Surgery II_Compassion
Image: “Scene From Surgery II: Compassion,” by Lora Arbrador, Chinese Ink Stick on Gesso Panel, circa 1988

for the health care workers battling COVID19

How do you fight a world war when the trenches are

rows of hospital beds and the enemy is microscopic,

skirting in the air for three hours
as if it were a fairy dancing inside a droplet?

The enemy does dance inside droplets
waiting to lay claim to our bodies.

See: Our soldiers aren’t dragging themselves
through mud on elbows and knees,

but fighting the enemy with surgical mask––
what real combat looks like these days.

The rankings have been replaced, where
President, General, Lieutenant, Colonel, and Captain

hold no victories.

Our war heroes do not carry guns
but can still kill an enemy that threatens to take

our bodies––potential battlefields. 

Our heroes fight with what little they are given,
and they arrive, not by steed or armored tank

but simply masked as superheroes in scrubs
with steady hands, a compassionate voice, and years of training,

continuing to fight with what little they have––
which is all that they have,

which includes their lives, and ours.

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2 thoughts on “When the Enemy Is Microscopic

  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for these words and art. Sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, sis. Can’t wait to see and share the beautiful work you produce during this time.


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