Bees riot in swaying lush lavender rendering jealous wild pink bougainvillea undulating dancing with soft California breezes lavish birds of paradise sing to empty streets teasing daffodils calling the boys to the yard opening foliage gathering in secret takeover anarchy taking windows and doorways entire sidewalks and walkways bolstered sprung by pollination warm sun and dew thoughts go to seed swirl in numbing lockdown haze stung by inertia going under a ferocious foaming crashing tide washing away and recycling returning anew reborn chase the insidious virus mutates transforms playing the vaccine chess game pawns in politics and laboratories humans shrink at the overhead roar buzzed into cowing, fearful submission until click goes the clock button until check to the king and watch the white coat miracle in sterile test tubes the human race rises to the occasion and takes a delirious victory lap.
What is the significance of this work to you?
My husband is an ER doctor on the pandemic front lines. During my quarantine, I have observed the rhythm of the natural world, taking back its territory, rejoicing in its dominance. The human race was almost swept away by these tremendous forces. In the end, nothing is more satisfying than watching the resilience of humans and the ultimate triumph of science.
What is the significance of the form you chose for this work?
I chose the prose poem as the form reflects the continuity and process of nature. The lack of distinct sentences breaking up the work allows for a breathless account of the virus overtaking humanity and the whirlwind process of vaccine discovery.
What was your process for creating this work?
My process for creating “Victory Lap” started with walking in my Los Angeles neighborhood. Gardens and yards were noticeably untended, foliage spilling onto sidewalks and encroaching on neighboring properties. Maybe the residents were staying indoors to avoid the virus and they neglected their usual landscaping duties. Or, perhaps, the gardeners were succumbing, one by one, to the ravages of COVID-19. Lavender reached across walkways and bougainvillea sought to smother its human-built host.
However, human intellect fights to ensure the survival of the human race, countering nature with logic and the scientific method. This is the dance. This is survival.
Jennifer Shneiderman is a writer and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker living in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Indolent Book’s HIV Here and Now, The Rubbertop Review, Writers Resist, the Poetry in the Time of COVID-19, Vol 2, anthology, Variant Literature, Bright Flash Literary Review, Trouvaille Review, Montana Mouthful, the Daily Drunk, Sybil Journal, Unique Poetry, Anti-Heroin Chic, Terror House, Thirteen Myna Birds, Potato Soup Journal, Awakened Voices, GreenPrints, Prospectus, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Perch and Angel City Review. She was the recipient of an Honorable Mention in the 2020 Laura Riding Jackson poetry competition.