Corona Pt. 20

Was the Summer
1967 was the Summer of Love in San Fran. 
2020 has been the summer of cucumbers (and coronavirus). 
So many cucumbers
Because we joined a CSA
And every week there are at least
Four or five in our box--all kinds: 
English, Common, Kirby. 
One week they gave us dill too 
And said, "make pickles!" 
But we didn't do it--now it's been weeks and weeks,
We still haven't done it
Even though the cucumber onslaught continues
Just like the coronavirus. 
2001 was the summer I graduated high school, 
2005 college, 
2010 PhD. 
2011 was the summer I got married. 
1997 Bone Thugs-N-Harmony topped the charts with Tha Crossroads
And the first boy to ever flirt with me
Wrapped his hand around my waist and squeezed
So hard his fingertips dented the bubblegum in my pocket. 
A cucumber wouldn't have been so malleable,
But I didn't have too many of those back then. 

Corona Pt. 19

New Glasses
When you wear a mask to
Try on glasses, you can see
Whether the glasses will
Fog up on your face. 
But you don't really know
How they'll look on you without the mask.
But you do know you are being safer
For the sake of the sales associate
Who'll clean all the frames you try on
And who says "maybe this will all
Be over soon" relaying a hope
In him that's died in you.

Corona Pt. 18

When You're the Ma'am
Guess what? The power's out again. 
And there's a big roach, 
The kind that splatters, 
Crawling up the wall. Ew.
And the power won't be on till 12:30pm
So we can't open the fridge to make breakfast
Even though you just worked out. 
And the medicine you need right away
Will be delivered in 1-2 days 
Due to miscommunication and a malfunctioning website. 
"Ma'am you need to calm down." 
That was me. I was the ma'am. 
And they gave me twenty minutes on hold 
To cool off. 
Later walking the drugstore aisles
I chased away my cares with consumerism
Like it was the before times
Buying toothpaste, toothbrushes, cheap eyeglass chains, 
And picking up my prescription. 
I believe you have me filed under "Ma'am." 

Corona Pt. 17

The Recital
They danced to the Taylor Swift song Lover
Three girls in moss green gauzy dresses
Channeling through their ballet movements
The longings of an adult woman in love. 
I danced like them once
In an itchy yellow tulle skirt
To the Bright Sunshiny Day song
Which is why I'll always remember the movie Cool Runnings. 
I danced at the Emery Theatre in Cincinnati
A venue with two balconies, two thousand seats, 
A grand stage, and a giant green room
Where I sat scratching with my classmates 
Before and after our turn on stage. 
These three girls danced in a parking lot
In taped off squares they couldn't cross
No matter how much the music moved them. 

Corona Pt. 16

Blind Banana
Last weekend we lost power
The same day the water went out. 
No, we're not behind on our bills. 
It happened to our neighbors too
Who asked us, "Is your water out?"
"Yes," I said. "This happens here."
At 5:30am, I woke up David
So we could buy ice at our 
Neighborhood gas station that's become 
Much brighter ever since they built
Those nice houses across the street from it. 
I wanted the ice to save the food in the fridge. 
Before we left the house, David handed 
Me half a banana in the no power darkness 
And said, "Eat this." 
It was covered in banana hairs
But I couldn't see them
So I just ate. 
We only lost a beef shoulder to the outage
And the boil water advisory was lifted the next evening
But we'll be living in a pandemic for a long while. 
90's Nostalgia
David bought eight fish
For our backyard pond--
We call the biggest Hootie
And the rest are just the Goldfish. 

Corona Pt. 15

Cases Climbing

US cases climbing--we're on the rise--
And banned from traveling to Europe. 
I don't blame them. 
This time last summer I was finding 
Comfort among strangers at the Louvre,
Riding the metro, dining indoors. 
And now--none of that. 

This wouldn't be over if our president
Had addressed the crisis competently, 
But it wouldn't be like this. 
Mask-less masses flooding to malls and bars
In the name of individual liberty, 
Tasked with restarting the economy
Our leaders failed to protect. 

How long must we traverse the Yellow Brick Road to the capitalist's Oz
Before we look down and see its path littered with lives lost. 
When will we recognize the haze around Emerald City 
As our planet's global warming problem. 
When will we comprehend our pursuit of normal 
As a threat to our collective existence. 

Not today apparently, America. 

Corona Pt. 14

Barbershop Existentialism

I gave my first haircut on a Sunday afternoon. 
My training--a six minute YouTube tutorial--
That taught me how to fade
Hair cut with size 2 clippers
Into hair cut with size 4.
(The secret is size 3.) 
Afterward I swept my husband's hair 
Into a plastic sandwich bag
Unwilling to part with his locks. 

Last week on a cemetery walk
A friend and I discussed what we would do with ashes, 
Ours and others. 
I'm afraid to possess ashes
Or linger about myself on a shelf. 
I fear violating a local ordinance with 
My last bodily act if I'm scattered to the winds. 
Internment seems like my best option, perhaps in an unmarked grave,
Because all memorials fade and chip and erode,
Giving in to the entropy of the universe. 

I hang on to things like hair and souvenirs and diaries
In hopes that they will gain significance, 
But in my most anxious moments, 
I sometimes wish all traces of me would vanish. 

We are from dust and 
To dust we shall return. 
But where did dust come from?
And who needs a haircut?

Corona Pt. 13

Grocery Jokes
My first trip inside a grocery store
Since March. 
A woman stood too close to me in the salt aisle. 
A mask-less man laughed too near me by the potato bins. 
I used to love the sound of laughter, 
Eliciting it from the crowd, 
But now it makes me think of projectile molecules--
A force behind the spread of germs. 
And I'm not so funny anymore,  
Only David here to hear my jokes.  
He's been telling better one's lately. 
Glute Bridge to God
I returned to work last week, 
Leading workouts in a parking lot. 
I was lying on the ground in a glute bridge hold
When the sun escaped a cloud
And struck my eyes, 
Blinding me like Paul on the road to Damascus. 
I wanted to call out to God, 
But my mask was suffocating, 
And anyways it was time to give instructions
For the next move. 

Corona Pt. 12

This is to tell you what side I'm fighting on

When we look back at our Instagram timelines, 
We'll see a black square
That marks the week Black Lives Matter 
Jumped ahead of coronavirus in the headlines. 
And rightfully so. 
Systematic racism has been around for centuries
Doing untold harm.

When we look back at our Facebook timelines, 
We'll see our public statements
Vowing to be anti-racists.  
We'll see the book recommendations we shared, 
The links to petitions we signed, 
The bail out organizations we supported 
Because nine minutes is too long to kneel on 
A man's neck. 

Archivists will catalogue pictures of
A looted Target,
A police car on fire,
Cops kneeling alongside protestors, 
Peaceful protestors attacked with tear gas, 
The president holding up a Bible, 
And they'll wonder about the goodness
Of those involved
Like we've debated heavily amongst ourselves. 

The hindsight of history has taught us
That people--good, evil, human--can easily
Be swept up in bad systems--
Systems that enslave, incarcerate, or kill unjustly. 
Systems that sick neighbors at each other's throats. 
I believe we're better served by being critical of our system
Than we are by defending the goodness of ourselves or our ancestors. 

There's a toll to silence. 
There's a toll to inaction. 
There's a toll to looking the other way. 
Too many have paid the fines for our indifference. 
It's time to make a change.  

Corona Pt. 11

In college, I took a class in public policy. 
It was one of my harder classes. 
I wrote a report on the HUD. 
We studied a famous plane crash (unrelated). 
I think it happened in the state of New York
Sometime in the 80s. 
I could be wrong. 
It wasn't Sully's landing. That was later. 
The problem in the crash we studied
Happened during the landing. 
My government professor, 
A lean older man with a bald head and wire rimmed glasses, 
Commented that most problems occur during takeoff or landing, 
Which has made me feel better in flight ever since. 
I was a nervous flier in college. 
Today, I am a nervous pandemic participant (unwillingly drafted).
I wonder what future public policy students
Will learn about the coronavirus response
And how it might make them feel better--compress their fears
Like studying that plane crash did mine.