When they sent me home for two weeks
To a home freshly provisioned with art supplies
They unknowingly quarantined me to heaven.
I drove home slowly, the world slippery with falling
White, my backseats bent over like me beneath
Another guy, my SUV’s anus packed with canvas.
Go straight home and remain there for two weeks;
Avoid physical contact with everyone. The police
Watched my car sneak away from the curb.
The police escorted us from the brightly lit building
Through the furthest rear exit, all other doors locked
Yellow-taped and darkened by their presence.
The lights bloomed on and the police gave us five
Minutes to grab our bags. Hauling the canvases arrived
By mail that morning, I grunted after the crowd.
In the dark, our faces vague hints in the sharp, meager
Shine of three iPhones, we decided the order in which
We would eat each other if trapped here much longer.
Our student just learned they’re positive for COVID-19;
The police are on their way, no one can leave. We stared
At our boss, gagged by questions. The lights snapped off.
A storm keening against the windows, a student sniffling
In our lobby, we rolled our eyes at shelter-in-place orders
And toilet paper hoarding. It’s all just mass hysteria
No one here has, or ever will have, COVID-19.
This poem was first published in a COVID-19 Anthology by Poet's Choice, Summer 2020