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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 4: July 2020
Poem: 152 words
By LeeAnn Pickrell


It doesn’t matter
how I feel, if I’m
healthy, if I don’t
have a temperature,
if I’ve scrubbed 
my hands until they’re raw,
if I’m six feet away
and wearing a mask
of many colors
and gloves, if I’ve
disinfected my entire
body in bleach,
if I’ve quarantined 
for fourteen days 
after flying from California,
because how can I know
if I’m really healthy,
if the dry cough and fever
I had in January
was just the flu,
because what if 
I have it now, 
if I’m asymptomatic
like Typhoid Mary,
a cook who was sent away,
imprisoned basically
for being an asymptomatic
carrier of typhoid fever,
so I can’t come see you 
to buy your groceries,
to hug you and take 
your loneliness like you 
took mine away 
when I was a child,
because what if 
I am the carrier of a gift
I would never want to give you? 


LeeAnn Pickrell
Issue 4, July 2020

is a poet living in Richmond, California. Her work previously appeared in KYSO Flash and most recently in Eclectica and Coffee Poems, and is forthcoming in West Marin Review. She is a freelance editor, and managing editor of Jung Journal: Cultural and Psyche.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Two poems by LeeAnn Pickrell in KYSO Flash (Issue 8, August 2017): Hand and Wheel, after Georgia O’Keeffe—Hand and Wheel (1933) by Alfred Stieglitz; and The Ostrich

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