Vox Populi

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Deena November: Social Distance Pro

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 
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).

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