Normal in a Covid World
He tells me
it’s normal to feel anxious
everyone is these days.
I want to believe him
but as his pen dances
across a thick prescription pad
I wonder if I’m the only one
barely hanging on.
I pretend my illness doesn’t exist
until I am reminded by others –
those who observe my movements
comment on my unsteady gait
slow speech, raccoon eyes
Some ask questions
Many speculate through whispers
but not you
You were here –
witnessed my struggles
listened to my fears
until they surpassed your own
Then you were gone –
Yet now you’re back, professing concern
“I care about you. I need you to be okay.
Please tell me you are.”
So, I do – to ease your guilt
and protect the pretender that I am
You & Me (Micro-Poem)
Caught in a circle of hellos, we avoid each other’s eyes, side hug
and pretend we were never more than we are now.
And yet – in that brief moment when you drew me in,
I heard your breath hitch the way it used to before we kissed.
I think about you
things we did and didn’t do
to keep you alive
Voice in my Head
Look in the mirror. Ignore pale skin and dark circles. Apply lipstick. Pucker. Smile.
At the therapist’s office, share that your best friend died.
If she asks, tell her I was forty-nine.
Mention a few tidbits.
How we met at work.
Took turns on breaks, microwaving popcorn in the staffroom; burning more than a few bags.
Remember how the smell lingered? Drove everyone nuts.
Don’t forget to tell her how we used to hang out at that bar on Yonge Street – you know the one.
I’d drink Bordeaux while you sipped tomato juice, pretending it was a Cesar.
We’d laugh at the ridiculous, share horror stories about relationships, then laugh some more.
Tell her other stuff too.
Like when I was admitted into hospital, how I ditched my gown, and met you in the lounge
wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
We ignored the code blues, hogged comfy seats in a corner, and swapped secrets;
the box in my dresser drawer, the one you hid under your bed.
Before you leave her office, tell her you wore bright colors because I suggested you do.
On your way out, check your face in your compact mirror.
Reapply lipstick. Pucker. Smile.
Lisa Reynolds is a Canadian writer of poetry and short stories.
Her creative works focus on love, loss, and survival.
She is published internationally in print and online publications.
She lives in a waterfront community east of Toronto, Ontario.
She is working on her first book of poems, reflections on living with chronic illness.