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?
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.
Afraid of what I can’t see
Afraid to get within six feet
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
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
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
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
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.