The Order of Quarantine shackles me
to house and grounds for two weeks,
my car can rest in peace.
I was blissfully ignorant the first five days,
calls from three officious nurses and one
legal document set the day clock running.
Life routine is altered.
Pam is the only person to handle food,
I am further useless in the kitchen.
I am ‘no touch’ and she follows behind
with Clorox wipes if I do.
We separate to different bedrooms,
hall bathroom resurrected as mine.
I retire for the night by turning right
instead of left, loneliness arriving first. Toothbrush
has moved, I don’t remember where the toothpaste
is kept, the towel hangs askew, righthanded.
Too many pillows piled on the unused bed,
(lack of smell)
narrow enough that I can roll twice and find the floor,
another pandemic risk. Even the windows face
the wrong way, toward the street with no gardens
but plenty of neighborhood floodlights.
We wear disposable masks
in case our paths cross within six feet,
even to avoid coughing on our lawn.
We resist shaking out the laundry,
it may contain toxic germs.
Sex certainly seems out of order,
the only important sheath is worn facially.
A text arrives daily from a distant nurse,
I respond 1 if sick, 2 if no symptoms,
I can discuss with a big CONSULT.
There is no response that states I’ve wandered off,
guilt and shame refrains me.
We have time that can expire,
pandemic red swath above our doorway.
Artist name: David Walsh
Description: Poem. The angst that gathers when informed that I was directly exposed to COVID-19.