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:
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
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
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.