i’ll give you an example: yesterday it was raining and i
was really sick so i went to an immediate care clinic
and a doctor came in and looked in my ears and throat
and said there’s nothing i can give you- where do you work?
he laughed in disbelief at my answer. why did you laugh?
i asked, do i not appear to be someone who could have
that job? no, that’s not it at all, he said, i didn’t know
there were still jobs like that. so i stepped into the rain
and then out of it and onto the bus. where do you work?
asked the driver. he nodded at me when i answered
and pulled the bus onto the bridge. we talked a bit
about getting a job somehow and working and who
gets to make decisions and how we’re assigned value and how
that doesn’t exactly feel human. i got off the bus and back
into the rain and i got better about a week later





i can see myself standing at the front of the room
this play is about relationships between bodies,
i tell them. they infect one another with their mouths,
i say, with what comes out of them, like we do. see how
many times the word lips appears? everyone plays
at speaking. what we imagine to be confined
to a body is released at the end in the speech
about the state when the play is pushed towards us
in a way. a force that drives us from the theater
where we don’t/aren’t allowed to/prefer not to
speak. i don’t think the sun ever came out today,
i say as i press the button near the door that makes
the shades slowly lower over the long windows. let’s
just stay in here, i say





let’s try something different, the virus said, and then
there were rules. echoes of hearts collected along
the ozone layer, each break in the story a tiny jealousy
we figured we’d edit out when we told it. i’m ready,
one image told the rest and went to the frontlines
we are our own pipeline, they said, and the sun rose
again, they were still there. the day starts with the light
we were made to witness by that other virus. now
we spend our time fighting off its predecessor, a host
of examples in this body as it fights. a slightly golden sky,
the dawn, i can hear a golden sound, the geese
in their V on their way have i woken from the dream
he asked if i was having? am i wrestling the angel
whose name is the one i’ve been given, the borders
of my being as sure as a state






Laura Goldstein is the author of the full-length poetry collections loaded arc (2013) from Trembling Pillow Press and awesome camera (2014) from Make Now, as well as numerous chapbooks. Her work frequently engages with how the performance of daily life can be inverted and exposed on a page that becomes a site for re-performance of language. She co-curates the Red Rover Reading Series and is an advanced lecturer at Loyola University in Chicago.


Golden Infection happened to track the effects of the 2016 Presidential election on my daily life including: waking up over and over to the world in that context, the classroom as my life, my commute to and from sites of self, and other routes and thoughts. I explored the term “infection” literally (lyme disease, HIV, the common cold), as a motif (the sun infects the sky each morning) and as a conceptual project, eventually drawing other poets in to infect the space of the poem (hint: we, unfortunately, are also an infection on this land). My idea was to explore, demonstrate how infection can be experienced as our influence over each other, as well as lead to our ability to effect change; it can go both ways and it can go several ways. I want to suggest that we will win when we turn the tide, fighting fire with fire or fighting with love. Whatever we can find.