C.B.G., 60, a freelance writer in Brooklyn, NY

Queen of Corona

I think coronavirus
is my fault.

Because I was forced
to trade in my passport
for chemotherapy, I was jealous
of everyone’s adventures,
mourning my own inability
to travel.

Then, suddenly,
COVID-19 surfaced
and no one could go anywhere.

Somehow, I felt responsible
that my rage and envy
had mutated
into a virus,
caused a global pandemic
and that I was
the Queen of Corona.

Above is a piece I wrote about the alienation of being in treatment for cancer (chemotherapy/radiation) during a global pandemic. I have included a handful of other related pieces.

Deserving Italy

At first,
I didn’t think
that I deserved Italy.
Perhaps it was guilt
or embarrassment
that I wasn’t worthy
of nice things

But in this bittersweet existence,
nothing is guaranteed,
even after five years
of being cancer-free.
Trust me,
it is all a gift,
all of this,
birth and life
and everything
in between.

And that is when I knew

that I deserved Italy—
we all do.

Infusion Haiku

I measure time not
by calendar weeks or months
but by chemo days.

[submitted on 8/20/2020]

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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