Virus Statistics by Yash Seyedbagheri

In our community, we trade virus statistics.

I’ll trade you X corpses in this city for Y corpses across this state.

Initially, we speak with somberness, but with each day, somberness is superseded by childlike energy. Glee, even.

Statistics beat images of shortness of breath or nausea.

But for fleeting moments, when loved ones gasp in constrained rooms, we wait for texts. Try not to imagine lives without their smiles, nicknames, and bad jokes. We even spare hints of empathy for others.

After our own die or heal, we discard Kleenex and step up the statistics trading.

We’ve cried enough.

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for Best of the Net and The Best Small Fictions. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in WestWard Quarterly, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.