These times are certainly strange, and Adrian Slonaker captures the struggle of it in this poem. Take a moment to read and be validated in the unique quandary we all find ourselves in.
I tap the unquacking silver duck head
during quarantine a hell of a lot
within the walls of my flat
because I can,
because busybodies won’t bitch about my choice and
because no one will wonder whether I’m walking the wrong
way at the supermarket and whether
I should be avoiding every sliver of society
instead of standing merely two meters from life.
When civil liberties are in flux, I can at least flush the toilet
whenever I wish, as much as I want,
reminded of the rushing whoosh of baseball watchers
on bleachers or the pool where I used to
bob and glide as sunlight skipped across chlorinated ripples.
Lost in the coughing of the crapper are the
curve and closures and economic collapse and
insecurity and fury and fear and
palaver about “unprecedented times,” and
I’m left with thunderstorms that sound like the cracking of the Sky God’s knuckles and
four puffy pillows and
“I love you” texted onto my dumbphone and
delivery sushi deposited outside my door like a demented May basket and
frolicking fireflies and
the floating fragrance of white and violet lilacs and
the Merseybeats’ ballad “Don’t Turn Around,” which
I warble off-key in the shower that’s
like a wet, naked embrace, when other bodies are away, before
I pray that soon the ice will thaw and drip and
we’ll be able to French kiss and clutch hands and touch and travel,
awakening to the wisdom that
the weirdness we’re weaving and weeping through now is nothing but a nightmare.
Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominee Adrian Slonaker crisscrosses North America as a language boffin when not in quarantine and is fond of profound late-night chats, rock ‘n roll records, spicy curries and ghost stories. Adrian’s work has been published by The Pangolin Review, Alien Buddha Press, Backchannels, Page & Spine and others.