stand in vigilant silence
since Black Lives Matter
stand in vigilant silence
since Black Lives Matter
I went to the grocery store today, and I don’t want to write about the nightmare I had last night where no one was wearing a mask.
Could you imagine, three months ago, having a nightmare about people not wearing masks in Target?
Actually, King Soopers was well-stocked today. Everyone I saw had a mask on. People at 8:30am obeyed the one-way aisle rules, and best of all? I stayed within my budget.
I made a budget for my post-work husband, starting at the beginning of May. $200 a week. It may sound extraordinarily excessive, but we’ve got six mouths to feed, and these are American prices, after all.
But I bought extras today. This bugleweed. A roll of packaging tape. And sushi because fuck Wednesday cooking.
And, my nightmares should end soon.
Because my post-work husband got a job, a non-union, non-seniority-screws-you job, doing exactly what he’s great at and wants to do forever, in the midst of a pandemic.
And you can call it what you want. White privilege. True. Luck. Absolutely. Divine intervention. Maybe.
Or just… fate. The fate that led him through the Air Force to me, that led the boy to our doorstep, that led three beautiful daughters into our home, that led his previous experience to him becoming the best candidate out of all the others being laid off.
Coronatine, day sixty-one. It’s a beautiful image filled with pets, hope, and love.
And I want to hold on to this non-nightmare feeling for as long as I can.
This cat was born to be a model. Good night.
It’s true that I am this tree here, standing starkly against the plains landscape with the out-of-reach mountains in the background. Once so vibrant, unafraid, now resting half-dead and waiting for the insects to burrow themselves into its bark.
This tree, still a viable perch for anxious hawks searching for field mice. This lonely cottonwood, defiantly naked in the sun while its smaller counterparts are beginning to blossom with the warm rays of May.
This tree framed by perfectly puffy white clouds and that ever-blue Colorado sky and the yellow and green grasses reaching from its roots to its branches, never able to reach far enough.
This tree, waiting for the right moment to release itself to the Earth, to decompose amongst the ashes of its ancestors, to not stand so high, so solitary, so isolated from its surroundings.
And you may not see it for what it is or what it once was: A testimony to strength in a harsh environment. A root ball so tenacious it stretches beyond the creek that feeds it, far into the wetlands, searching for those snow-capped peaks, the very peaks that feed it with their snowmelt.
And you may not think it should still stand, rather that it should fall and become a nurse log for the surrounding saplings.
Instead, it cuts into the horizon, carving a definitive form made from a lifetime of gnarled limbs into the sky, ready to fight until the sky falls, or it falls.
Whichever comes first.
an uncommon mist
wrapped the morning in soft light
before the sun ruled
but blue sky is king
popping up my potatoes
for the love of May
all nine have emerged
and, like the peas, cling to life
brought by sun, water
this wins my heart now
as i fast between each sun
hope rising, falling
my perfect birthday,
in my mind, pre-corona,
would never be this
(there might be mountains,
a fondue restaurant, views
not in the background)
but with so much time
and simply nowhere to go
love works its way in
my middle’s painting,
a dress hand sewn by my mom,
and saved till tonight
my oldest breaks, repairs me
with this card; her words
my perfect birthday
brought to me by a virus
with two gifts: Time. Love.
this is just to say
I have lost the art contest
to everyone in my dining room
they were so strong
and so detailed
so much depends upon
a teenage smile
giving a snarky peace sign
with an artist’s pencil
beside her sassy sisters
I’ve made it to the final day of gratitude! The ten last bits of gratitude for the Coronatine.
I’ve been bitching a lot (and crying a lot), so here goes: ten good things about quarantine for ten days straight.
No promises. But I will try.
My elderly uncle with the ‘No Solicitors’ sign on his door happily steps right out onto the covered porch to collect the three Costco-oversized boxes of tissues that I have brought to him.
“Are you going to come in?” he asks as I creep backward, down the three concrete steps.
“You better wash your hands now that you’ve touched those boxes,” I immediately reply. “I could have it, and it lives on cardboard for 24 hours.”
He brushes me off and acts, quite nonchalantly, as if he’s been expecting me. “Thanks, I was waiting for something like this. I use five or six tissues every time I have to clean my catheter.”
What a lucky find, I think. “Well, Floyd, you’re the master of social distancing. How have you handled the Coronavirus?”
It’s true. He’s been reclusive, the middle child and only boy wrenched between six sisters, for his entire adult life. He lives in the same house he bought as a young man, the 1950s Mayfair ranch decorated exactly the same as the original owner, and “Why should I change what’s already there?” He worked as a TV repairman for as long as there were TVs to repair, and happily retired twenty years ago to a lifestyle of only visiting the grocery store and denying most social invitations from his six sisters.
But now there are no tissues in his grocery store. No toilet paper. No frozen vegetables. No eggs. No sense of security for the five square miles he drives within any given week.
He talks my ear off in the fifteen minutes I stand in his front yard, keeping my six feet of social distancing requirement.
This isn’t like yesterday when I drove to all corners of the city to deliver my students their much-needed headsets, folders, notebooks, and supplies, when their parents seemed grateful for my latex gloves and, more importantly, my brevity. “Check Schoology!” I found myself shouting too many times, “It has everything you’ll need for your life right there!”
This is Coronatine, Day Thirteen: my elderly uncle, my not-so-elderly parents (who also need tissues), who I can only stand on the porch with, and not really visit.
“You’re really not going to come inside?” they inquire, and I mention Italy. We’ve all heard about Italy. My father’s mother was from Italy, still has living relatives there. “Over sixty, Dad,” is all I really have to say (my parents are 66).
And how did I manage in the Costco line today? The rain hadn’t started yet, nor the snow. It was cold, and I had my latex gloves on, plus my ski mask (I didn’t think far enough in advance to buy medical masks, so when I put it on in the parking lot, Fabian said he’d prefer to wait in the car. I didn’t care. I’m not fucking with this shit). I waited a good thirty minutes to socially distance myself, six feet back from the guy in front of me, to get in the store.
And they still didn’t have toilet paper.
This was after we visited the Mexican Envios, always open, line out the door, everyone ready to send money home to their poorer-than-any-of-us-here families back home. My boy was in and out in fifteen minutes, but his poverty-stricken father had to wait in line for three hours to get that money we sent him because this was the first day out of seven that the banks were open, and the seventh day out of infinity that he is unable to work and support those two baby girls.
Never mind that he lives in the most dangerous city on Earth with a corrupt government and police on every corner making sure you don’t go where you’re not supposed to.
Never mind that he doesn’t even have a mortgage because his house is a shack on his boss’s property constructed entirely of corrugated sheets of metal.
Never mind that however bad you think this is for us, standing in the cold in the Costco line, cleaning your catheter with the last bits of tissue, wishing you could hug your parents…
We still live here. Where capitalism, evil as it may be, allows me to trump the system and send an extra hundred dollars home to Honduras because, God, why the fuck not?
This is Coronatine, Day Thirteen: six boxes of tissues delivered. Check. Three hundred dollars sent to Honduras to buy food. Check. Wondering who has it among us, and which ones will die. Check.
What else is there to say?
I planted spinach just in time for the snow to water it. Please let it grow. Please, God, let it grow.
here are my children
throwing frisbees in the park
(they’ve never done this)
quarantine, day nine:
orders to stay home
just look at my son:
showing pup what he can do
with our family
card and board games win
(break news cycle doom and gloom)
We WILL get through this.