know your enemy

Viruses are biochemical malware / you can download from a table or the back of a chair / a sandwich wrapper or an item of footwear / a shopping trolley / the handle of a brolly / a volley / ball / the lightswitch in the hall … / basically, anything anyone’s touched at all / not to mention from a cough or a sneeze / where the virus spreads with comparative ease / in the old-fashioned, pneumo-plaguey-way / deadly and direct as an aerosol spray / from a can marked Quik-Infect / with a list of all the side effects / a hotline number for questions to ask / and a picture of a skull in a surgical mask

SARS-CoV-2 / (coronavirus to me and you) / is 120 nanometres spike to spike / and to give you an idea of what THAT looks like / you could put 650 from here to there / across the diameter of a human hair

The virus is built to hotwire cells / and utilise their organelles / knocking out bunches of viral clones / that eventually burst out like drones / to carry on the replication / in neighbouring host cell populations / surfing the ancient genetic wave / of all the poor organisms they invade

They’ve been around since Deuteronomy / rampaging through the world’s taxonomy / you find them in camels and mandarins / bats and cats and pangolins / and although a virus isn’t strictly alive / you’d have to admit it shows plenty of drive / constantly making adaptations / capsid hacks and alterations / endless genetic recombinations / and even though the thing’s inert / and depends on hosts to make it work / still, it thrives in its micro-domain / nestling spike-deep in a cell membrane / one more key in one more lock / one more twist on the evolutionary clock

But I didn’t want to leave you without some hope
The thing they really hate is soapIMG_1943

2 thoughts on “know your enemy

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