Mask
Sunshine Kills the Virus
by Ranney Campbell

behind the house, on a few dry inclines
passersby are occasional
but I am determined to reach
a certain height on the turning trail
and dismiss encounters from my mind
as each person slips the gravel away from me

think instead of the smell of lizard skin
listen for kangaroo rat kicking
sand and identify the passing
vegetation; which is indigenous
which invasive, as it appears presently
beneath my brim

leave the trail and negotiate piles of new-
ly earthquake-loosened slabs, precarious
now, the glassy grey quartz and pink
feldspar potassium bouncing sunshine onto me

lie                              positioned
in earshot of what might encroach
crunch of footfalls

come
to find me

     I remove the red rose
sandals, curl a finger
behind my ear
to draw
off my mask
then my shirt, pull
giving underclothes

irradiate

fact
that back in that cloud-flattened city
if you died, no one would even inform me
       because this is who I am             to you

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I write when I have to. Sunshine Kills the Virus; self-evident.

campbell 1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ranney Campbell is from St. Louis, Missouri, where she worked as a freelance writer, including for the Associated Press and Reuters International News Agency. She earned a General Studies B.S., with concentrations in psychology, American politics, public affairs journalism, writing, and gender studies, and an MFA in fiction from the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Her poetry is published in Redshift 4, by Arroyo Seco Press, will appear in the Summer 2020 edition of Shark Reef Literary Magazine, and has been accepted by The Main Street Rag Publishing Company for a future edition of its quarterly literary magazine. She lives in Southern California.