Plot Twists by Ellen S. Jaffe

Poem title: Plot Twists Poet name: Ellen S. Jaffe Poem: Who made up this plot? And what were they thinking? Woman finally moves in with her lover, after 15 years, then six months later, she’s diagnosed with cancer? Love Story for septuagenarians -- though in Canada love does mean saying you’re sorry when you are. And then, in Season Two, pandemic strikes, Locking down the city, the country, the world -- who’d ever believe that? Cancer now a subplot, just one thread in the general panic. What new developments are left for Season Three -- if the network even decides to continue the series? What’s that? Racist violence, police brutality, protests for social justice -- that story’s been told before, too many times. But there’s always another version, it never seems to end the way we want it to. It never seems to end -- at all. And yet, the couple goes on, cooking, loving, planting flowers, talking to friends and relatives -- but people aren’t interested in these mundane details -- the ratings are slipping. What if they hire another writer, or take over the job themselves. Meanwhile, the script writers have added a ray of hope, a new drug, promising if not a cure, at least a reprieve. But wait -- will the corona virus get her first, or him, on an ordinary foray to the supermarket, or bringing food to a friend -- despite their masks, their hand-washing, their isolation in place? Zoom in for a close-up: What do their faces tell us? Zoom -- zoom -- zoom faces of family, friends, colleagues flash on the screen each caught in their own story, their individual but interwoven, intersecting lives. Time for a new plot, a deus ex machina. As e.e. cummings said, There’s a hell of a good universe next door -- Let’s go! End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Ellen S. Jaffe Ellen S. Jaffe grew up in New York City and moved to Canada in 1979, becoming a Canadian citizen in 1993. Her poetry books include Water Children, Skinny-Dipping With the Muse, and The Day I Saw Willie Mays and Other Poems, and a Finnish-English chapbook, Syntymalauluja/Birthsongs, published in Helsinki, Finland. She has also written a y/a novel, Feast of Lights, and a book on the craft of writing, and published widely in anthologies and journals, including Crossing Lines: Poets who came to Canada in the Vietnam War Era and Tamaracks: Canadian Poets for the 21st Century. She has received grants for writing and arts-education from the Ontario Arts Council, as well as other literary awards, and has taught in schools and community organizations. She lived in Hamilton for many years and now lives in Toronto.