Saturday, March 21, 2020

In the dark of early morning

I listen to my lover sleep.

I was excited to sleep in today

But I can’t.

Instead I stare at the shadows

The long, hard edges of door frames

The soft curve of shoulder.

I give up my dream of sleep

And rise as I used to

Before all of this.

I pour fresh coffee

Walk the dog

Feed the pets

Retreat to my upstairs office

And light my candle.

I’m not meditating right away today

I’m getting these words down first.

These morning things I do

Are the same, yet vastly different

Than even a week ago


I pour my coffee and wonder

Will the water stay safe?

I walk the dog and think

Is this wind carrying infection?

Am I?

Snow falls on my boyfriend’s flannel

That I threw on to walk the dog;

Stark white on black and red

And I recall the scientist saying

Viruses thrive in cold, dry weather.

I don’t know if this is the end of the world

But it’s definitely

The end of the world

As we know it. (R.E.M.)

(Is that song in your head, too?)

I think about so many times

When I wished for the end

When depression was choking me

Daring me to keep breathing

When my insides were screaming

And I would drown them in dark red

Until sleep took over

And then go about my day

Saying I was happy; that everything was fine.

I am afraid, today.

Everything is far from fine.

I don’t want to die.

Not like this.


In isolation

Afraid of what I can’t see

Afraid to get within six feet

Of handshakes

Of touch

Of being a weapon, myself.

The birds still sing

Outside my window.

I open it

Just to listen better

To feel the cold air.

The world on pause

Is a very strange place

I struggle to draw out any silver lining

A shred of hope.

People usually say

Everything happens for a reason.

I haven’t heard anyone saying that

This time.

I’m not sure what stage of grief I’m in.

As a member of the “vulnerable”

I’m not supposed to leave my house.

Many have lost their jobs

While I get to work from home.

I can’t turn off the flood of data

Even if I tried.

My 12-step meetings

Have moved

From church basements

To a few bootleg, in-house meetings,

To Zoom chat rooms

(This is a new kind of prohibition.)

We can’t hold hands

But we still join in prayer.

Usually it’s for serenity, acceptance.

We know each other’s last names now

If we didn’t before.

I was never anonymous anyway;

The candy man liked to shout my name out

And then offer me a lifesaver

Or a piece of chocolate.

At least we can still see each other

For now.

We can mirror each other’s fear

Share the burden of this grief.

I have a big, old house.

There is always work to be done.

I just had a new roof put on.

I need to clean up the attic.

I need to paint the front stairs,

Put the shoe molding down.

I need to have the front porch fixed

But I worry

Over my supply of insulin

And if I’ll be able to pay for it

If I can’t cross the border to Canada in a few months.

I could ration it

Take less than I need

But I think that only makes me

More vulnerable.

I haven’t written this much

In a while.

My coffee’s gone cold.

My face is a wet mess.

This meditation music is oddly inspiring.

If I never see you in person again,

I love you.

I hope you come out of this alive.

1 thought on “Saturday, March 21, 2020”

  1. have plundered all these words in my brain just in a different pattern … How dare I pray for life when I prayed for pain and death …


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