Welter has commissioned two poems from UB Professor Marion Winik. We hope they’ll help you through the last months of COVID. Reread as necessary.
Things to Do in Quarantine
Thanks to a doe-eyed TV assassin named Villanelle, I found
myself thinking of ghazals and sonnets. With its repetitions and rules
sestina is the art of quarantine. My daughter, who never exercised outside
of gym class, is now running for miles, doing yoga and pilates, applying masks
and serums, preparing for a beautiful future with clothes and boys. What’s new,
pussycat? More YouTube, more Zoom, more books and home
cooking, handmade wontons stand strong against tedium and despair. Stay Home,
Stay Safe, Wash Your Hands, Take Off Your Pants. Turn on the TV and pledge newfound
allegiance to State Farm and McDonald’s. Be together apart, stir-fry the new
normal, celebrate heroes with Free Taco Tuesday. First responders rule.
My daughter and I walked to the public gardens, full of tulips and couples in masks.
As any dog can tell you, it’s just so good to be outside.
Get this: I was scheduled for knee surgery this summer, now there’s an outside
chance I’ll be replacing my own patellas and femurs right here at home.
I’m in med school at the University of Google, have my surgical mask.
Until then, it is Saturday, unless it’s Sunday or Thursday. Like Apple, I’ve found
two-factor verification is best. The pill-sorter and the garbage truck. The rule
ran away with the exception. Nowadays people are burying old hatchets, says The New
York Times. Sadly, others are digging up those hatchets or making hatchets anew.
Sleeping dogs + crowded quarters = quarantine apocalypse. In skies outside,
with Mercury in Aries, a Scorpio moon gets stuck in transit. Ruled
by Venus, sensual Taurus consolidates her sorrows and celebrates at home.
Sixty-two! Yowza! I’ve ordered felt-tip pens and a one-egg fry pan. Lost and found:
The cat, a reason to live, the original cast album of “Hair.” Underneath this mask
I am smiling at you, old friend, I wish you could see it. Still no masks
in my dreams, but last night I did receive a Zoom invitation. Sailing to the new
world in my 1950s boat, I hit the gulf stream of consciousness, and I foundered.
Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. My cousins had to stand outside
the window of assisted living to get a last glimpse of their father. They went home
without telling Aunt Joan, who is in memory care. Despite the new rules,
four instead of three were permitted at the burial, and the bending of this rule
appeared unto them as a blessing. They stood in their yarmulkes and N95 masks
around the grave of their father, and each told a story. Their elegant childhood home,
his box seat at the Meadowlands. At 97, imagine finding a new
way to die. I know my mother would be interested in discussing this. Outside
on a sunny golf course in another dimension, perhaps she can be found.
Here at home, we have just a few rules:
Whatever you’ve found is yours to keep. Don’t jump. Do unmask.
My daughter will take your new headshot. Meet us outside.