Eight billion viruses move
from one set of lips to another during a kiss.
Twenty billion, if you use your tongue.
His eight billions have been waiting for so long.
They’ve already packed their luggage.
They jump up and down, impatient.
But his twenty billions have already lost all hope.
No, they are not some barbaric Covids stupid enough to kill their hosts,
they are gentleviruses of common cold,
so they know they can’t be denied the right to be transmitted.
They want it so much.
It’s spring, after all,
and her lips are so close.
Besides, there’s a quarantine, and she’s stuck inside, having nowhere to go.
“Come on, boy, come on!” shouts Father-virus
who has a big family. “Kiss her!”
Three new generations of young viruses have grown
since the luggage was packed,
and the first newborn baby-viruses are already getting old now.
But her lips… Oh, her lips!
They are so comfortable and wide,
even though she wears too much lipstick.
“But we can settle somewhere closer to the teeth,”
the practical Father-virus mumbles to himself,
“if the teeth bacteria are not too aggressive.”
And now the great moment has come:
she, as much tired of waiting, kisses him herself.
“Why did you do thaaat?” she asks him, as if panting.
“Because I love you!!!” twenty impatient billions shout out the correct answer,
they scream and yell, but he doesn’t hear.
Oh no, he doesn’t hear.
“I don’t know. It just happened,” he mumbles.
“Oh, my god!” says Father-virus.
“If I’d been such a dolt when I met my old lady,
my three billion baby-viruses would’ve never been born!
“But lo! She knows what to do.
“Don’t you love me?” her soft lips ask,
and Catch-22 clicks shut.
There’s no correct answer now.
“Well, ehh, I do,” he says.
The viruses rejoice, and a young Cupid
fastens another gold padlock
and swallows the key.
Sergey Gerasimov lives in Kharkiv, Ukraine. His writings span the gamut from philosophical poetry to surrealism and tongue-in-cheek fantasy. His stories have appeared in Adbusters, Clarkesworld Magazine, Strange Horizons, and other venues. Also, he is the author of several novels, and more than a hundred short stories published mostly in Russian. Translator of Russian poetry and prose.