Applauding the Symphony

By Maya Ardon
12th grade, Skyline High School, UT

With lines from "Scientists Have Turned the Structure of the Coronavirus Into Music" by Vineeth Venugopal, a Pulitzer Center reporting project

And suddenly this breathing machine is a
drug, a statement on gluttony and ecology.
The world is healing,
because you and I no longer need to prove
how hungry we are and how sullen we should be.

A drug, its famous spike
stretched out into a sheet with
soothing sounds,
an intrepid
musical sequence trembling,
catching my breath and your breath
in lilting flutes.

If I were to be trapped in a can
of aerosol spray,
I would hear the sound of
dead mothers and breathing orphans
applauding the symphony.

But in real life,
the drug might be able to bind
the main notes
to the wounded and the graduating class
of this year of our Lord.
A drug, safe from the
waiting for the game to end.
              An apple a day keeps the doctor safe
              until its family rots,
              until its uneaten flesh bursts into flames
              and ignites the fuel in the landfill.
A drug, this year,
for the sake of what is good;
it sounds nice, accompanied by this harmony.
If I were to be trapped in a can
of aerosol spray,
I would clap, too.

Maya Ardon
Maya Ardon

Maya Ardon is a senior from Skyline High School in Salt Lake City, Utah. She was fortunate enough to have been an editor-in-chief of her school's literary magazine, which enabled her to develop her creative outlets throughout her time at high school. She intends to pursue environmental sustainability and health in college, as well as continue her interests in the arts. Writing about the current public health crisis as well as avidly learning about public health and environmental issues in different parts of the world has inspired her to pursue activism. She hopes this can open conversations in policy regarding these issues and work towards making change.

Read more winning entries from the 2020 Fighting Words Poetry Contest