Ten Poems in Twenty Minutes: COVID Edition Day 2

these are not as good as the last bunch. but they’re here.

1:
Today, once again,
I sat at my laptop and stared at my screen.
I should start that project.
I should at least plan the project.
If I sit here long enough, the fear might go away,
Then I can take a baby step toward completing the project.
I need to be okay feeling this feeling,
It’s okay.
We’re in a pandemic, it’s okay.
You gave yourself this deadline.
You can do the work by then.
But I know, it’ll be Sunday night, and I will have beat myself up for not getting work done, again,
But,
I will have finished another novel,
Because there’s nothing as good as reading when you’ve got something, really, you’re supposed to be doing.

2:
I said to my roommate that I was going to sit with a suicidal friend.
This was a lie.
In fact, I was sneaking off to a boy’s house.
So I could hug someone.
And not be told to eat something,
Or offered coffee I can’t drink.
I wanted social time,
Not this limbo between no alone time and no people time.
That’s what it feels like with a roommate you don’t really like.
I’m always assailable but never purposefully seeking company.

3:
I got a sunburn.
On Sunday.
I put sunscreen on my face and the front of my neck.
I low-key wanted to get a tan.
To prove I still can.
And to show off my slightly less jiggly body with proof I got it in the sunshine.
Instead I got a sunburn on the back right of my shoulder.
And I’m sleeping on my one side.
And smelling like the green burn cream aloe lotion.
My roommate told me, she didn’t know my skin was so sensitive.
When she came into my room at 11 p.m. to “hang with you.”
But she wishes she was as white as me so she could dye her hair copper.
And other things I can’t make up.

4:
My friend.
I like friends. I like having friends. It makes me feel nice and fluffy inside.
Look at me, family, I can do what you can’t!
I can have lasting friendships.
She’s having a hard time.
And I want to go and sit with her.
But I can’t.
Same as last week. The risk is too high and she’s too immunocompromised.
If she dies though, I’ll feel so guilty.

5:
My appetite is back.
So I made the only mac and cheese they had at the store,
Which is the gluten-free kind full of words like non-gmo and happy looking lambs and things.
I found the way to make it better,
Was to add small pieces of chopped deli ham I had fried in butter and kosher salt.
I could eat it then.
This is what I’ve been sharing at work, with my friends,
With family who call.
We’ve been talking about the food we make,
And the tricks we’ve learned.
It somehow feels belittling and I don’t know why,
To only talk of food,
And the food I make.
Belittling maybe, in that I think these people only think of me in terms of food.

6:
My lovely therapist lady suggested I talk to my dad about how I’m feeling.
It went badly to say the least,
But I did learn how hard it is to be on the other end of the behaviors I have.
The talking about emotions from some distant third-party line,
The switching gears,
The over-definition of terms and abstraction of whatever it is you’re feeling,
So you don’t have to feel it.
The sense that when you’re sharing it’s to as a supplicant to some gatekeeper,
Who will hold the pain for you.
It’s annoying. I do it too. It’s where I got it from.
Him.
At least now I know.
And I tried to share with a friend this week, how I was really feeling. Tried.

7:
I’ve started to hate the sounds of my footsteps on the pavement.
That’s how much I’m walking.
But it does tired me out.
So I can sleep.
Then push next on my alarm three times.
And move from the bed to the chair to do work.
Where I pretend things matter,
And in fact,
All I’m thinking about is how I’m still waiting for someone to save me.
This time it’s a magical vaccine that will make me have this beautiful life again,
That I don’t think would fit me anymore.

8:
I had a lawyer draft a whole estate plan,
Including contingencies and everything.
Paid up front.
And then haven’t been able to read the edits to the documents and sign off on them.
My mom told me today, her life insurance is good until she’s 66.
And one of the policies goes to her kids, instead of her husband.
She said, that’s where the money for my funeral will come from.
My investment account made $350 dollars since I opened it.
Dead people’s money.
It feels like dead people’s money.
It feels like everything I pay for now has blood on its hands.

9:
A book made me laugh so hard, I remembered what it is to laugh.
The sound caught me off guard.
Is that me?
Is that what I sound like?
All that rust?
She was just describing something funny about Seattle city planning.
It wasn’t that funny, reading it the second time.
And I comfortably shift back down,
Into my “I’ve seen everything old-internet veteran” mode.
Safe again, from my own smile.

10:
I shut off my phone to disconnect.
Maybe re-center.
And as I was waiting for the screen to go full dark,
I picked up my work phone,
And started scrolling.
What new habits will come from this?
Will I always have a switch that can be flipped now, that remembers,
You have to stay six feet away from them.
They’re too close.
Don’t breathe their air.

2 thoughts on “Ten Poems in Twenty Minutes: COVID Edition Day 2

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