It kills me not to linger over tomato basil soup,
half a turkey sandwich with extra mayo, a mocha
at the mall. Though now we can dine plein air
in killer heat under a Southern California
blanket of smoke-choke air, mosquitoes attacking
everywhere. Oh, to roam sans masque—now
objet de dualité: shelter for pandemic & smoke.
With so much time on my hands, I should be
writing a book. I could write about Separation.
Rage. Fear. About mornings like this morning,
lazing in bed, grilling my brain about what went on
yesterday, how I will inhabit this day—mirror
for mañana. Well after mañana. Will I stand in line
at Trader Joe’s eyeing amaryllis, narcissus, cacti
lined up along the waiting wall? Plants aching
for touch. Fresh cut flowers first thing you see
upon gliding through the guarded gate, red
shopping cart handle moist under fearful fingers.
I could write about Zooms that friends have
maneuvered, take-out they’ve risked. Restaurant
parking-lot canopies they’ve dined under—a pis aller
for solitude. Ennui. Dishwashing. And what about
doctors’ office visits? Waiting rooms looking
weird now. More spacious, like purses. Chairs
shoved up against walls, stacked in closets,
magazines exiled—like lipsticks—along with
coffee makers & creamer & Sweet’N Low. And
what about my husband—his three-day, non-Covid
hospital stay? I could write about how hard
he leaned on the passenger door waiting for me,
then on my arm to reach the ER door. How he forgot
I couldn’t enter with him. How hard he leaned
on the nurse who led him away from me. My
sobbing in the car before heading home. How bags
of O+ blood began coursing through him—
urgently. Three bags of Separation. Rage. Fear.
is the author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay Books) and five chapbooks, including Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By (Kattywompus Press). Her poetry has been read on BBC Radio 3 and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Lunch Ticket, Moria, and Spillway.