Bleach really does expire by Marcy Rae Henry


Bleach really does expire

—for Demitri Paccasassi, who brought bleach and avocados during the virus 


One day any poem with the virus in it will sound dated

Any time I see computer in a poem I stop reading

When I was in college and someone said

I got a virus at the computer lab it sounded sexual

People used to get it on in the stacks in the library

Stifling moans among stacks of silent reference books

Now smile you’re on camera notices are everywhere

My debit card has been compromised lots of times

The bank always asks did you let someone else use it

As if they could talk me out of the paperwork of fraud

Fraud is another word that does not belong in a poem

I don’t belong in a poem

But here I am typing one out clickety-clack

While some people figure out a way to do their work

From a computer with a camera and others rush to the lab

To try to come up with a vaccine which is vacuna

in Spanish and sounds like a cow in a cradle

The virus has taught us so much

Bleach really does expire

If it’s potent enough it can kill weeds and if diluted

It increases the longevity of freshly cut flowers



Marcy Rae Henry is a Latina born and raised in Mexican-America/The Borderlands. She has lived in Spain, India and Nepal and once rode a motorcycle through the Middle East.  Her writing has received a Chicago Community Arts Assistance Grant and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Ms. M.R. Henry is working on a collection of poems and two novellas.  She is an Associate Professor of Humanities and Fine Arts at Harold Washington College Chicago and a digital minimalist with no social media accounts.