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.