Before you got laid off, you worked for Enterprise,
with no sick leave and no wage protection.
You said even the car rentals in Italy were open.
Your roommate feared you’d infect her.
You were the only one who had to leave for work.
You were the only person of color in your house.
You aren’t afraid to die, but, older than you, I am.
In Milan, lines of hearses haul coffins to cremation.
Their drivers can’t stay home, either:
hospitals have no more room to burn bodies.
During a virtual appointment one week into quarantine,
my doctor says a newly diagnosed thyroid disease
puts me in the at-risk group.
She says, don’t become inflamed.
I am putting out fires inside other fires,
but you keep your cool.
You’re out there somewhere,
listening to sunrise.
It feels like I had to shut the door
before you got inside.
We don’t know how long it will be this way.
Sometimes we walk the dog, 6-feet apart,
not holding hands or hugging.
We sleep real late;
we howl at eight;
we send video of ourselves cumming.
I make careful grocery lists,
ask for rice, oatmeal, sweet potatoes.
I don’t touch anything you bring
until it’s wiped or sits three days,
but this morning,
my mouth knew your love
as a mango it didn’t ask for.
Stina French writes mystery, magic-realism, flash memoir, and poetry. She’s featured in many Colorado venues, and her work has appeared in Heavy Feather Review, Punch Drunk Press, and the podcast Witchcraftsy. She is scratching at the window of her body, writing poems like passwords to get back in. To get forgived. To get at something like the truth. To get it to go down easy, or at all. She wears welts from the Bible Belt, her mother’s eyes in the red fall. She’s gone, hypergraphic. Writes on mirrors, car windows, shower walls. Buy her a drink or an expo marker.
This poem is from our first print collection
of poetry, “Thought For Food”, an anthology
benefiting Denver Food Rescue. To support
our fundraiser, please visit this link.