A Day in the Life

By Jimmy Roberts

Long night, no sleep. What day is it? New York Times on your doorstep. Pick it up

with a tissue. Spray it first? You're out of coffee. So, put on the mask and gloves and…

 

Sir, you need to stand behind that white line, six feet from that man!

You don' wanna catch what he have, and he don' wanna catch what you have!

 

Back home. Switch on the TV, watch the governor explain death, tens of thousands.

Each one, a face someone loved. You feel paralyzed, obsessed with not knowing.

So, put on the mask and gloves and…

 

Doctor at Urgent Care: How can we help you?

 

You: I'd like to have the COVID test.

 

Why? Have you been exposed? Any symptoms?

Well, I felt ill two months ago—low-grade fever, light cough.

 

Two months ago? Why are you here now?

 

Just worried.

 

Any shortness of breath?

 

No.

 

Vomiting or diarrhea?

Uh-uh.

Lack of taste or smell?

Nooo, but…

Okay, tell you what, we'll draw blood, give you an antibody test, results in a few days.

 

Back home. Time. Too much time—to think, to remember. Try to put it all together, make sense of your wife. Your wife? You mean…your life. What's that about?

Try to read. It's no good. Switch on the TV and…

 

"Look, Dr. Fauci is not the be all and end all. It's not up to him to tell us when to restart business. He says, 'Trust the numbers, trust the numbers.' Well, how can we trust the goddamned numbers when they keep changing? Are there risks? Sure! But we're Americans! We take risks!"

 

Switch it off. Enough. Instead you nap, disinfect the groceries, make dinner,

pour a stiff drink. Then, close your eyes. Till tomorrow.

 

Jimmy Roberts is a composer. His show, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change," ran for 12 off Broadway, and since then has been produced the world over, most recently as a big-budget film in China. His poems have appeared in The New York Times and the journal Mobius.

Trolley c/o NYS Writers Institute

Science Library 320

University at Albany

Albany NY 12222   

nyswritersinstitute.org 

© 2020 All rights reserved.​

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