Scoundrel Time

Protagonist Syndrome

my girlfriend’s best friend
is convinced she has covid.
I’ve heard all her stories –
I admit, there’s a good chance
she has. but last week,
when her housemate
was sick with a fever,
she had said it was fine
and we didn’t need to worry.
we isolated anyway
just to be safe. now she’s getting tested
and telling her friends
they should hole up and wait
for her message. my diagnosis,
to my girlfriend in passing:
a case of protagonist
syndrome. she’s accepted
that something
of interest has happened.
now it must happen
to her.


DS Maolalai has received eleven nominations for Best of the Net and eight for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in three collections; “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016), “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022)


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