Use the mirror in your bathroom
as a rear view. Flashback
in Crayola neon, high speed
chase in a Disney movie,
armchair spectators cheer
you on, drinks resting on
barely used legs, sneaking gin
while kids bleat at their screens.
They cannibalize your life,
call it a full day. Let them go
and green their knees
in the back yard, scrape them
on a rock in the woods.
The books you promised
yourself in isolation waited
before, will wait longer.
Your flights of fancy
are all grounded anyway.
Retire. Save your time to shout
at 3:00 PM, relive your
daily commute. Fresh air
from back porch helps
to further carry grievance.
Practice your I-love-yous
in other language. Fail
all you want. Love is
on lock down as well.
Nothing new is starting.
Death is the only one opening
his Tinder. Try to break up
with Death. Kick him under
the rug. Like any bad boyfriend,
he’ll be back around, every wake
a booty call in disguise.
Normal is changing again,
wistfully remembering last
pandemic, before death came after
everyone as part of bidding war.
What have our hands touched
today? What dark waters do they
wade in while our minds surf?
The Easter Bunny doesn’t
even want to traverse
your hallways. Adulation
isn’t worth it. Call off Easter.
Reschedule everything. Photos
only preserve regret.
A happy ending is just
the pause before everyone dies.
Someone bring back the disconnect.
Time is a bully, never takes money
then leaves you alone.
You have one night in dreams
to live differently. Forget
former lovers’ faces,
Death as new landlord.


Chad Parenteau hosts Boston’s long-running Stone Soup Poetry series. He currently serves as a regular contributor to Headline Poetry & Press as well as Associate Editor of the online journal Oddball Magazine. His second collection, The Collapsed Bookshelf, has just been released.

Boston, MA

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Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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