ceaseless

By Anne B.

the fan is spinning endlessly above me,

agitating the air and sending it retreating halfheartedly around my room.

i could compare it to the swarm of thoughts inside this head of mine

asking why a ceiling fan is so similar to me.

always humming and working but never free to fly,

to climb higher and higher into the sky

instead of quietly wreaking havoc my surroundings.

 

and i can hear the clock next to me

ticking away at what seems to be a life sentence of weakness.

a mocking sound that comes from desperation, see,

those hands are trapped in an infinite rotation of corrosive irony.

they are not the only thing confined to this room.

this is unlike me, the hardworking girl; my mom

raised me to be stronger than this.

 

and i was strong once, wasn't i?

 

Avoiding Reality

By Rachel F.

Months of quarantine and loneliness.

Distanced from every loved one and friend,

I hide behind my computer screen.

I deny the fear that this will never end.

 

The empty streets and the lines at grocery stores.

Spying on others from six feet away became a game.

With my new fashion accessories and sanitizer,

I must admit that the world will never be the same.

 

During every other disaster, we relied on our neighbors.

We opened our arms and our hearts to others.

But unlike war or hurricane,

Disease pushes us away from our brothers.

 

The canceled events and lost opportunities are frustrating.

Yet nothing compares to the people who are sick, dead,

Or lost their jobs.

Though I am forever helpless, so I stay inside my bed.

 

Where the covers are warm,

And I feel protected.

I bury my head beneath my pillow,

I try not to worry about getting infected.

 

Suffocation is a refreshing comfort,

Like dipping my head in a pool.

With chlorine clogging my ears,

I feel less like a fool.

 

For months I’ve hidden my eyes between the musty pages of a book

To avoid reality.

I’ve read about others struggles and hardships

To feel less abnormality.

 

I’ve played games and ignored the news.

I’ve clung to loneliness too.

Because if I let reality sink in,

I might not make it through.

 

There Are No Numbers Anymore

By Sophia M.

I feel a lot older than I am.

More like a marriage counselor and a 

junior therapist and a 

wife and a 

working woman,

closer to a pension than graduation.

 

Because I think—

contrary to my mother’s theory that time stopped in March—

Time has only sped up

like some horribly comical clock 

whose hands are spinning into eternity

so fast you can’t even read the numbers anymore. 

 

There are no numbers anymore.

 

Because there are no numbers in my morning,

when the darkness obscures my Cheerios

and my day begins when the rest of the world is asleep.

And there are no numbers at night, 

when the birds sing and the sun makes its rounds

and I sleep soundly under a bright blue sky. 

 

I think it’s funny because

it was a number that started it all. 

A horrid, devastating acronym and two tiny numbers

not much older than I’ll be in a few years. 

Those letters and that number changed the planet, 

scaring everything else into hiding.

Or was it submission?

 

When the numbers left

so did our sanity,

and in its place came the fighting 

and the selfishness

and the feeling like nothing would ever be normal again.

Our blood dissolved to water just like

the numbers dissolved to nothingness.

 

And nothingness has felt normal since.

 

I feel a lot older than I am. 

My body inhabits the space of the family therapist

the mediator

the eldest daughter who gets trapped in the middle of it all

but only because she loves so much. 

 

I still wish for the numbers to come back—

resurface from whatever deep grave they’ve been buried in, 

dance like pale apparitions on our clocks again. 

Part of me thinks that maybe if the numbers come back, 

so will my youth.

 

Or maybe that’s a silly belief anyways. 

17. Such a naive age. 

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