Diana Manole

Diana Manole, Photo by Alex Usquiano, 2019, 3

Bliss Molecules

To COVID-19 Survivors

 

The smell of water,
fresh water, seawater, dead water, marshes and streams,
water carrying her away—
folded, squished
rocked on the tides of a second Noah’s flood come true,
no ark in sight,
no piece of timber randomly afloat,
all expectations lowered to the basics
“Lower her!” “Turn her!” “Hold her!” some scream
a looped polyphony,
her S.O.S. dawning and fading in her grizzled lungs,
air sacs as is filled with ravenous carnivore algae
“Water, the smell of water! Where from?”
alveolar cells bursting open “She’s drifting!”
she’s adrift like a foetus in the amniotic fluid,
knees sticking out through the skies’ splintered belly skin,
freeze, flight or fight or fall
falling through the cracks between shock waves, reversed,
transverse across the damp nothingness,
no birth plan to stick to, no rebirth in sight
no joystick, no stuffed toy or candy to reward the winner,
alien hands like crane claws, piercing flesh,
rubbing salt in haemorrhaging nostrils “No touching, nooo!
Don’t touch me!” Six masked Golems leaning over
“Now we get her, now she’s gone!”
a tube squashed inside, twisting, coiling, snaking
“No, no, please don’t!” then bliss—
mechanical breaths and bliss molecules
“She’s out of the woods!” someone says.

Diana Manole was born in Romania, immigrated to Canada in 2000, and is proudly identifying herself as a Romanian-Canadian scholar, writer, and literary translator. In her home country, she has published nine collections of poetry and plays, and received 14 literary awards. She has also translated or co-translated seven poetry collections from and/or into Romanian and one from Spanish into English, and co-earned second prize in the 2018 John Dryden Translation Competition with Adam J Sorkin. The winner of the 2020 Very Small Verse Contest of the League of Canadian Poets, her recent poetry has been featured in English and/or in translation in magazines in the UK, the US, Belarus, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Albania, China, Romania, and Canada. Diana has earned a doctorate from the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto and a Master of Journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa. As a scholar, she has published 13 peer-reviewed articles and/or book chapters in the US, the UK, and Canada, as well as co-edited a collection of essays, Staging PostcommunismAlternative Theatre in Eastern and Central Europe after 1989, published by the University of Iowa Press (2020). Diana teaches Theatre and Performance, English and Canadian literatures, and/or Creative Writing at the University of Guelph and at Trent University. Her seventh poetry book, Praying to a Landed-Immigrant God, is forthcoming from Grey Borders Books on 1 December 2020.

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