A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
Where do they keep the eggs here anyways? a woman in her late 50s, on her phone with a cart overflowing with toilet paper, not respecting my social distance asks. I can see the saliva coming out of her thin, tight lips with every syllable, a weapon of spit and virus. Governor Wolf has just issued a stay-at-home order and the Pittsburgh Facebook Mothers Group wants to know: Is anyone finding toilet paper? I am looking and can't find any! I guess I can use this quarantine time to work on my recipe book… Do you have a favorite recipe? Send them my way ❤ <3. What are all you ladies doing about your nails?? I'm going to need a fill soon!! Easter Bunny photos: With the malls closed, does anyone have any suggestion on what to do about obtaining one this year? We haven't missed a year and my son loves the Easter Bunny.” I’m trying to keep it all together, Keep it pretty and neat on the outside. I create ambitious color coded schedules for my hyper children during a pandemic but they are jumping in puddles, tracking mud all over the house and eating popcorn off the living room rug. Maybe I should just use the same yellow and black caution tape closing off the neighborhood playgrounds like a crime scene but now all I have is inside, Inside my house, my backyard, my front porch with my family. I don’t know how to feel anymore I can no longer process 2020. I started a new full time job, teaching at a psychiatric residential treatment facility they will pay my student loans and match a 401K, PTO and luxuries I have never had but my life has felt unsafe ever since. At work, I watched an overweight 16 year old go straight for the scissors in another teacher’s unlocked desk and stab and slash at air, staff and barricade herself behind her classmates desks. She began to slit her wrists like it was nothing, let the blood pour and pool on the high traffic, ultra thin charcoal carpet. In the early dawn, while leaving for work I fell down my cement steps in the snow and later my basement steps in my thin socks. I had a miscarriage and was asked, Was it (the pregnancy) planned? and why would you try for another if you have 3 perfectly healthy children! I was given irises for sympathy that never bloomed. A week later, I told a resident that they needed to hand me the scissors instead of throwing them. She yelled, “You're not my mother, I didn’t come out of your vagina, I don’t have to listen to you!” I was exposed to the Coronavirus at work but only found out because a coworker texted me. Today my bank account has been emptied But I’m trying to keep it tight like the Sushi roll on my grandmother’s old flowered china, although it has been chipped along the edge for years.
Copyright 2020 Deena November
Deena November is the author of Mean Mama (Main Street Rag, 2017) She has edited two anthologies, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres (Lascaux Editions, 2017) and I Just Hope It’s Lethal (Houghton Mifflin, 2005).