Sunday, March 7, 2021

Everyday Hurts: A 2020 Litany

Isolation I

My heart hurts

I cannot see my precious innocents

who are only four and seven

some days I think they will forget me 

as if I never existed

My grown children are bitter and cynical

this, too, hurts my heart

because I brought them into this hard world

I can never make it up to them

I have been hard myself

though inside I feel as soft as an eight-year-old


I lost my darling cat the other day

I held my face against his

beautiful coat while the vet

administered the sleep drug as I hugged my sweet friend until his life was done

Now I await a new and special drug

my partner needs it even more;

the partner with whom I bicker so restlessly and constantly

you might think we participate in an Olympic competition

I resent him for not one sound reason

yet my heart hurts for hundreds of reasons

sometimes all it takes is a song

and I cry

Maybe my heart is too small and that’s why life seems so painful

I need a bigger heart

Because people have been so mean to each other,

someone has to hold the grief close and not let loose the

guns and tears,

It might as well be me


Isolation II

emails sign off with

“I’m working remotely

here’s my personal number in case you need me” (please don’t need me) 

wish the reader a standard  “have a good day!”, 

knowing the possibility of “have a happy” went out the window months ago. 

With laptop Windows open 

Spotify new age music on rotation 

I gaze out my own front window toward morning’s eastern glare;

pigeons flock to a neighbor’s roof peak 

as she shovels yet another scrim of an impossible heartbreak winter from her driveway, 

groomed so that I simultaneously admire and detest her perfection, mostly because I struggle to complete a mere single task, not to mention being paid for a full day’s work (extra credit for assimilated guilt, please)

I remember former mental vigor, the uncanny and noteworthy speed I displayed in fulfillment of a simple request, and the selfless dedication on which I (used to) pride myself 

“If I Zoom one more time I’m gonna puke” (said as a joke) more time and I’ll have that secret emotional breakdown about which I’ve fantasized as I watch my own tiny face and hag-like neck tucked

within a grid of other tiny faces as we discuss even tinier problems in the face of economic collapse, lives-lost, and heart-aching statistics, all which could have been rendered so avoidable. 


Isolation III

My deepest heartache, though,

resides with the lonely un-rescue-ables 

like my mother.

She lives in what they call a studio apartment

that’s how they get you

*The fancy lobby chandelier

*Nurses on each floor

*24-hour Bingo

way to stave off the doom

There’s a pond outside her window

but the window is high above her wheelchair so she cannot see the sky,

or the trees or pond with ducks that swim there.

More like a prison, her studio is a place

where she cannot even get to the bathroom without a stranger’s help 

Surrounded by the same four walls for 300 days running,

except for the days she was “at hospital” to heal from the virus

she loved the change of scenery, 

then came to hate the loud TV and missed the ducks that she cannot see from her window 


Like a good, conditioned prisoner, she returned,


while my own heart beats 

waiting for another song

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