I did not write

April 14

I did not write yesterday

And from 10 p.m. until midnight,
I wrestled with my sheets and pillows.

I turned on the TV, then turned it off
Tried three different meditations
Ate some toast
And though tired, could not sleep.

Somehow my alarm woke me
Which means I did sleep
But once awake
I wrestled with my thoughts and feelings.

I answered emails
I listened to podcasts
I ate some breakfast
(and some snacks)
And though full and entertained and marginally productive,
My mind would not settle.

“I must need a break from my computer,” I said.
So I closed its lid
And swiveled my chair to the left
To see the leafless trees and blue sky off my balcony

Too windy to go for a walk, I deduce
(after yesterday’s forays into 20 degree wind chills)
And I lean back in my chair
Mind racing, eyes swimming
When I realize

I did not write yesterday

Easter Weekend

April 11

So much I could do
So much I should do
So much I want to do
(I think)

But the isolation withdraws daily
From my motivation reserves
And the isolation deposits daily
Irrational scenarios into my thoughts

So instead of doing
I escape
Into books
Into films
Into television shows

Maybe soon I will adapt into the new normal
And complete all the awaiting projects
But maybe not.

April 12

Easter Weekend in quarantine
I spend time with my Jewish roots
Watching “Unorthodox” on Netflix
And a celebrity Seder on Facebook.

What is it about Easter that sends me away from Christianity?
Is it the violence of the Easter story?
(Not that Passover is without violence–especially that final plague)

A friend taught me this week about genetic memory
And this explanation makes sense
Friday and Saturday, my DNA craves connection to my forgotten Jewish roots
Sunday morning my upbringing draws me
To videos of Johnny Cash singing “Were You There”
And a reminder of what my Christian faith has given me.

I return to Whitman:
I contain multitudes.

Good Friday

April 9

Good Friday, the calendar tells me,
But it feels anything but good.
I try to make it good
By chatting with dear friends
By generously tipping my grocery delivery man
By savoring Easter candy
By watching the Good Friday service on Facebook Live

Yet I am still sorrowful
My heart patching up cracks
My brain fighting with itself
And I think
Maybe this is exactly how I should feel
On Good Friday.

Privilege and Guilt

April 7

The privilege of living alone in a pandemic:
I do not feel compelled
To strip naked in my doorway upon arriving home from errands
I do not feel compelled
To ration my own supplies so my loved ones will have more
I do not feel compelled
To eye every stranger with suspicion, afraid of what I might bring home

The danger of living alone in a pandemic:
If sick, who will feel compelled
To risk their life
To make sure I am breathing?

April 8

I let myself sleep in some days until 7:30 a.m. though I feel guilty.
That is 30 minutes past my typical arrival time to my classroom.

But students have other concerns right now, I tell myself,
And my classes do not rank amongst them.

Yet I still sat at my computer for office hours today
Hoping at least one student would stop by and say hello.

I am obsolete.

Spiders and Walking

April 5

In a grad school textbook
I saw a drawing of a spider spinning a web
After scientists gave it caffeine.
Disorganized, unpatterned, this web
And I think about Whitman
His spider poem once reaching out to me
Patient, spinning, giving me hope.
And I think about the caffeinated spider
And how I have so much in common with its web
Disorganized, unpatterned, this life
And I wonder if I will ever again feel balanced,
Capable of creating something as delicate and organized
As a spider’s web
Or if the new normal is this
Disorganized, unpatterned.

April 6

A new routine:
At least twice a day
I lace up my charcoal grey shoes
Put on my charcoal grey hoodie
Attach my AirPods
Fire up an audiobook
And I walk.

I stroll slowly along the sidewalks in a loop
While Malcolm Gladwell or Ronan Farrow
Teach me about injustice

My entire woman life I’ve thought movement must involve
Sweat, exertion, pain
Never fun, relaxation, enjoyment.

These walks I take are my only fresh air
They are my primary source of movement
And rather than dread them or consider them
Something That I Must Do For Society To Value Me As A Person
I breathe deeply,
I listen,
I enjoy
My walks.