Five Poems by Dorothea Naouai

Brave New World

Every time I see

The pixel-signs

Alongside the parkway







I feel like I am

Watching a futuristic

Film in which the

World is forever changed,

(Blade Runner or Mad Max)


In which


Is unrecognizable.


Unlike the movie


I cannot turn to

My companion,

Popcorn wedged between

My teeth, and say:

“Can you imagine?…”

Corona I

We spent the days


Like spent lovers,

In each others’ arms,

Breathing slowly,

Our bodies blazing

With the virus,

Come to re

Member us to

The Magnificent,

To the delicate


Corona II

The great equalizer

The stealthy

The quick and merciless

The door closer

The heart opener

The grocery shelf vaporizer

The mask wearer

The measuring stick

The zoom meeting maker

The dog walker

The game player

The invisible

The vanquisher

The loss-maker,

Grief wailer

The store closer

The job annihilator

The lonely days

The ‘are you my neighbor?’

The pace-setter

The confiner

The fear-generator

The faith-maker

Mother Nature’s fury

See what it feels like,


“I can’t breathe”

Planet choking, along with

Eric Garner,

Countless others, named and


Violence upon violence,

Greed and neglect.

                                      This is what it feels like.


Corona III

Watch the Visible Ink performance here.


Composer: Andrew Sotomayor  Director/Choreographer/Dancer: Matthew Steffens Voiceover Artist: Karen Wexler


Is sleeping in his

Bed again;

Lung capacity

Greatly diminished

But breathing, still

Still, breathing

He opens his eyes

And beneath

The hollow

Of the ordeal

Behind him

A drinking in,

A recognition

Of all that

Was familiar

And now is new


Aladdin’s treasure,

Nearly lost,

To the kryptonite

Of the invisible organism

Video Credits:

Andrew Sotomayor – ComposerMatthew Steffens – Director/Choreographer/DancerKaren Wexler – Voiceover Artist

Galas Have Been Cancelled

Galas have been cancelled

and the banquet halls are empty

The morning commute

is a breeze

And the subway shuts down

at night

for cleaning

Restaurants and cafés,

struggling yet with

take out and delivery,

have stacked their

tables and chairs

Hair salons, bars, museums, schools:

All shuttered

Only grocery stores are busy,

lines of masked customers,

respecting 6 feet distance

Zoom has replaced

the board room,

the meeting hall,

the classroom,

the newsroom and

late night talk shows

Telehealth is the new norm

Even chamber music

and a capella concerts,

tune up virtually,

the individual parts

performed in living rooms

across the world and

expertly edited together

Family dinners and game night,

Tiny faces in tiny boxes,

Screens within screens

Weddings, funerals, graduations

All online.

And still, the birds

begin to sing

(of open sky?)

in the green, green world

outside my lightening


The one with whom

I share my life

sleeps soundly beside me;

Deep breath in

Deep breath out

Author Bio

Dorothea Biba Naouai is an RN working in hospice and a student in the Narrative Medicine masters program at Columbia University. She and her husband of 30 years both fell ill with COVID 19 and recovered. Her husband is a chef and collects Superman memorabilia.

Instagram: @dorotheanaouai

Photo credits

Dorothea Biba Naouai