We on the spectrum celebrated
lockdown and quarantine as an Aspy’s
dream. Free from speech codes,
manners, the painful noise of human
others, I hunkered down in Mom’s
and my double-wide that March,
my arts and crafts table silent
as a Zen garden, where I twisted grapevine
into wreaths sprouting purple plastic fruit,
decoupaged Christmas trees, laying glitter
as thick as snowfall on green triangles.
Come April and May, I was dug deep
in my planting; by September tomatoes,
pole beans and zukes filled all our baskets,
so on to canning. I could not return
to Comcast, the other IT’ers talk at lunch
about football, girls’ night out,
social clusters that send me to
my panic place. Left to myself brings me
order and fun. Now I work a quiet job,
restacking books at the local library,
just me and my cart. I do try to pick up on
idioms there, though, like back atcha,
which you say facing the person’s face,
team player, which does not refer to
sports, and baby showers where no one
showers. I write it all down.
Tomorrow I return to my voice coach
and acting class. I don’t know how I play
other characters, but it’s never when
the drama coach says, “You’re a grieving
mother. Go!” I translate his language
into my mind. I think of my library
cart upended, garden gobbled by critters,
then I embody deep sorrow like skin.
But when he talks about multiplicity,
polyphony, aesthetic distance, I
stroke my blanket swatch, cover my ears,
walk perfect squares on stage.
—From the poet’s book-in-progress, America’s Daughters & Other Poems, a series of 20 woman-voiced interior monologues.
lives in Fairmont, Philadelphia, her adopted city, where she reads and writes, hikes and bikes, serves as a home chef/caterer, and loves on her family and friends. Her poems are published in Blue Lake Review, Corvus Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, Mobius, Quartet, The Southern Review, Uppagus, Verdad, and Yes Poetry; and forthcoming in Evening Street Review, West Trade Review, and a handful of anthologies. Her book Biking Through The Stone Age is forthcoming in 2022 from Kelsay Books. And she is currently at work on a collection entitled America’s Daughters & Other Poems.