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The Quarantine

April 14, 2022

The Quarantine 
     (by J. K. Gayle, written in April 2020 during the quarantine, retitled 299 English & Chinese Words during the summer after by somebody else)

April is the cruellest month, bringing
Recoveries out of a pandemic, flattening
Curves and sheltering in place, social
Distancing, each with six feet between.
Deliverers kept us supplied, ringing
Doorbells in masks, feeding
Many lives with food from restaurants closed.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Spring-
Break, extended, into classes online;
We stopped in the Zoom meeting,
And went on in private chat, into WhatsApp,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
我根本不是 Latina, 我是America来的, 真的是Chinese。
And when we were children, staying at home,
My cousin’s, she took me out on a walk,
And I was frightened. She said, Mark,
Mark, look at the bears. And bears we saw.
In the windows, there you feel solidary.
I read, much of the night, and go strolling on sidewalks.

What are the distances that save lives, what grocery
Store shelves and workers? Child of adult,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A bunch of images, cable news, where the president speaks,
And the ER gives no shelter, the doctors no relief,
And no sound advice. Only
There is breath under this face mask,
(Come in under the breath of this face mask),
And I will show you something different from either
Your selfies on social media posted by you
Or your selfies deleted by you;
I will show you fear in a hand unwashed.
“I sat there with Sally. We sat there, we two.”
And I said, “How I wish we had something to do!”
Outside of 武汉China are some, faulting
Fellow humans for COVID19. Who’s blaming
The Wasteland for April blues? I blame
The Quarantine.

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