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By Amy Nedeau


I’m woken at 3 am by a future that might have been.

My stomach doesn’t have

the same shut down button as my computer

and spins in loading circles all night,

all day too.

3 am/ 3 pm are one

when the sun is sheltered with clouds

and gray, vacant walls become security blankets


The only stability is speculation:

            How long

            Will there be enough

            Will we make it

Scarcity and unfamiliarity

breed anxiety twins

that run through my brain

like angry toddlers

keeping me from my yoga mat

and coloring all over my escapism books

making them illegible


This gift of time

is lost in scrolls of panic posts.

I haven’t cried

as though I don’t know which emotion

to map onto this

unstained page


I breathe slow, try to center

my own arms

the only ones allowed to embrace me



Every rainfall, the ground water pushes up on the concrete floor of the basement

an uneven vein has formed and soaks as though perspiring under pressure.

Soon the walls will do the same, the repairman says

then the joists will shift, the foundation affected.

We can’t change the weather, he says

Only reroute its effects

It will always come





The dog walks dutifully

confused by three in one day,

but not upset.

Maybe this is all we have now

a postman’s vigilance

(neither snow nor rain nor virus)

to be outdoors.

I’m not the only one.

Our once empty routes are full

and we turn

step aside

turn again

to avoid sharing air.

Can she even tell these days apart?

We’re all losing that ability

the more we become like dogs


By Amy Nedeau

Why does my heart and my head hurt today?

Like they were muscles I forgot to stretch

after a five-mile run

But I can’t look back to yesterday

or even several days prior

and recall some event

that warped them out of functioning position

Instead they’re just sore

with no excuse


I could blame the world around me

for dosing me with nonstop news

about the chaos in the country


Images of masked faces that will haunt our collective future

slowly seep into our skulls,

so I always try to crinkle my eyes above mine


I know you would have smiled behind yours.

I can’t say I wish you were here anymore

Your lungs would not have survived this.

Already stuck at home

before it became everyone’s normal

You would have joked you set the trend.


I’m learning that grief is an arcade button

Not press once for on, once again for off

it’s only press to trigger

tap for more

And I’m losing in a black and neon maze,

crushed in a traffic race

there’s never enough time

and the button sticks

with pizza grease and hot wing sauce

and instead of rising it stays down

on, on, on

and I lose again.

Push to move forward,

and now I can never stop.

Amy Nedeau is a University at Albany graduate with degrees in English and anthropology. She was a participant in the 2019 NYS Writers Institute Community Writers Workshop.

Amy grew up in Buffalo and currently resides in Waterford.

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