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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


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