Poetry

94.

Flipping out,
but like,
on the inside, ’cause ain’t none of us
safe on the outside.
These are the quarantimes, and they
drive me even closer to madness.
I understand and appreciate
the immense need for social distance,
but even I, a lifelong introvert,
am feeling constrained within the comforting confines of home.
I miss people.
I miss catching floating shreds of conversation
as they sway into my ears on
some unseen breeze.
I miss laughter ringing around cubicles
and through the air,
I miss nerdy references uttered
while the d20 spins to a stop.
I almost miss the drive to work,
and I’m pretty sure that the next time I
start my car to go anywhere,
I’ll have to hold myself back
and stop an impromptu road trip in its tracks.
I used to think
that virtual realities were my places of comfort,
that I knew myself best through pixels and slightly glitchy code.
The controller in my hand gave the illusion of control.
But the pandemic dispelled that spell.
I find myself awkward
and mechanical in phone chats and video calls,
the virtual meeting spaces of today,
whatever happened to my idea that I was better without people?
My warmth has gone missing, it seems,
hiding while we all try to figure out compassionate distance.
Can I send my charisma through the headset?
Maybe not all of it,
but I,
I’ve got to try.
I miss people.
I don’t always hug, but when this is over,
my arms will need to be ready.

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