The streets emptied out, but their lungs

Moyosore Orimoloye

The virus is spreading as only viruses can,

but still, I swipe.

Handing out a couple of nos, a couple of yeses,

and the occasional superlike.

But who am I kidding?

The news is the French have banned kissing in the streets,

the Italians have a lockdown in place,

and that everywhere else, gates are slamming shut.


So why am I on this damned app, swiping left and right,

reducing my favoured distance to two miles,

endlessly tweaking my bio

as if anyone would come out of the safety of their walls, brave a raging virus,

for the sake of an appearance of love.


Give it time, Àparò urges,

Starved of touch, the streets will be agog with chanting-

“give me love or give me death”.


But I think this is improbable.

Modern man is too prepared for loneliness.

A furry animal,

an app that keeps refreshing,

an app that keeps suggesting,

all serve well as surrogates for love.


And you would agree that the poem could end that way-

hanging another crime, as poets are wont to do,

around the neck of modern man.

Imagine, then, my disappointment when I learn

neighbours are singing together from the balconies of Turin.

The experts say as the disease gets worse, chests may fill up with fluid-

but look at us, they seem to reply,

we have filled our lungs with song.


About Moyosore Orimoloye
Moyosore Orimoloye is a poet and writer from Akure, Nigeria. His poems have been featured in several literary magazines including The Ilanot Review, Transition, Republic, The Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper, Afridiaspora and Arts and Africa. He is currently a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota.


The streets emptied out, but their lungs Copyright © 2021 by Moyosore Orimoloye. All Rights Reserved.

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