Lisa DeSiro


Virus Villanelle


Coronavirus is a foe we can defeat;

to do so, you must follow our commands:

Don’t touch your face. Wash. Sanitize. Repeat.

In public, wear a mask. Cross the street

if people walk near you. We recommend

you always keep a distance of six feet.

No hugs or even elbow-bumps. Only greet

neighbors from afar. Do not shake hands,

don’t touch each other. 20-second scrub. Repeat

after us: we can no longer safely meet

or gather; we’ll see family and friends

onscreen instead. It’s not an easy feat,

we realize. And people have to eat

and earn their living still. We understand.

Please don’t get touchy. Sanitize. Repeat

these rules until they become obsolete,

someday, when this pandemic finally ends.

COVID-19 is a foe we will defeat.

Don’t lose your sanity. Wash again. Repeat…


Lisa DeSiro is a descendant of Italian and Sicilian immigrants on her father’s side; her paternal grandfather was born in Foggia. Lisa is the author of Labor (Nixes Mate, 2018) and Grief Dreams (White Knuckle Press, 2017). Her poetry has been widely published in anthologies and journals, as well as set to music by several composers. She is also a professional accompanist. Read more about her at