April 28

Rediscovering my happy places and old friends:
Bartlet’s White House
Sacred Heart Hospital
Santa Barbara Police Department

It’s these places keeping me sane
Letting my head escape
And forget all I am missing.

April 29

“Just do the mile,” I repeated
Bracing against a spring-chilled wind
“You will feel better,” I repeated
Shoving my weight against gusts

But when I returned
I did not feel better
And there are days, I suppose
When no matter the tools–
Walks, writing, watching–
Wallowing is the only true and restorative course of action.

Two Short Poems

April 26

Things I hope I keep:

Leisurely walks around my neighborhood
Books books
Sunday family game time
Virtual hangouts with friends when schedules and distance keep us apart
Cleaning random items when I notice their grubbiness
Isolation-induced perspective

April 27

A rare visit to family
Socially distanced, of course
An ache filled, to see people in the flesh
An ache amplified, six feet apart

It’s keeping us safe,
I repeated in my head
Until the ache became too great
And I waved goodbye

Ozark and Hugs

April 23

Watch Ozark, they said
It’s so good, they said
It’s not too scary, they said

Beware: the characters on Ozark are liars
Beware: so are the people who tell you to watch it
Beware: it is scary.

April 25

I am not a hugger
I flinch sometimes when touched
I was not always this way
But when I realized I faced
A life alone
I retrained myself to not be a hugger
Lest I constantly miss being touched.

The last time I was touched
By another human being
Was March 7
And while I’m glad I retrained
My hugging tendencies
This lack of human contact
Is starting to gnaw at me
Keeping me up late
Wondering if adults have ever withered
From a lack of touch.

Markers and Scales

April 21

Every night I hold five markers in my hand:
Gray, Blue, Pink, Green, Yellow
A spectrum of emotion
To track my days

I write down the key happenings:
People I talked to
Movies I watched
Tasks I completed

And I assess: what color is today?
For weeks, I was stuck between grey and pink
Devastatingly sad to numb.

But this past week?
Green every day.
It is a gift, this week of good days
Evidence that nothing is permanent.

April 22

A small step today,
Moving my scale from my bathroom to under my bed

I decide this after stepping on it,
Seeing a number I haven’t seen in months
And I felt sad
And immediately felt mad
Letting a number affect
My mood
My thoughts
My value

I decide it’s time for different metrics:
Every day, did I eat
Some fruit?
Some vegetables?
Some fiber?
Some protein?

Every day,
Did I walk?
Do some yoga?
Maybe lift some weights?
Do a few pushups?

Most important:
Do my jeans still fit?

And if I can answer yes to most of those questions
Then my scale is irrelevant
And doesn’t need to judge me every morning.

Cleaning and Irony

April 19

Graph paper
Candy from Easter 2019
Eight small Mason jars
Dozens of makeup samples
Four cans of sweetened condensed milk

As I clean random parts of my home
I find treasures long-forgotten.

April 20

The hardest part, I’m learning
Is not being able to show up
For the people I love
Not being able to fly across the country
And help my sister move
Or help my friend bandage a breaking home
Or even drive across town
And take flowers to a grieving friend

The hardest part is knowing
My distance keeps us all safe:
The most painful of ironies