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  • Writer's pictureKevin O'Keefe

Phase One... or Two

Updated: Apr 23, 2021

You washed your hands, oh did you wash them

You became a surgeon of sanity

You left your home alone,

or with a trusted other, but not too close.

You never shook hands, hugged or kissed

You held your breath while evading strangers

You left sweets on the neighbor’s porch

with your six-foot pole.

It was always Black Friday, Maundy Thursday,

Ash Wednesday, Monday, Monday or some other

You bought the paper though there was no news

The ink slid off the pulp and onto your mayonnaise-slick fingers.

You took up new habits—knitting, smoking, growing a beard

You traded gossip and played online bridge

Once, you lusted after the mail man

When you felt adventurous, you grocery shopped.

You considered new careers

You denied being shipwrecked

You gazed into the night, garbage cans, puddles,

and saw no bottom, no end.

You longed for normal

In the beginning, you thought it couldn’t last

In the middle, you were sure it would never end

In the end, you said it was worth it, but not really.

When you died, oyster mushrooms sprouted from your eye sockets

The ink from your permanent record dripped back into its’ blue bottle,

to be buried in the backyard. The stars in the night sky formed a phalanx,

your path between them finally made clear.

But that was impossible, after all that was undone.


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