Terminal Illness

by Michael Dylan Welch and Allyson Whipple


Written 1 July 2023 in the Rookwood Room at the Netherland Plaza Hotel at Haiku North America, Cincinnati, Ohio. At the end of conference, after having flown home, I came down with Covid (as did at least 11 other HNA attendees). We think we caught it from the Swifties, in town (and inundating our hotel with sparkles and glitter) for a Taylor Swift concert that same weekend.



sudden sneeze—

my baggage

over the weight limit Michael


pulling down my mask

for the security check Allyson


suppressing her cough

the agent with latex gloves

scans my boarding pass Michael


cold sweat

the shuttle door

barely closes Allyson


my limp returns

on the moving sidewalk Michael


indefinite delay

painkiller options

at the newsstand Allyson