Sep 07


i watch the numbers tick up.
i read the headlines.
suny oneonta shuts down for the semester -
six hundred cases.

i go outside.
i see the masks, worn properly or not.
the spraying of hand sanitizer,
quick rubbing of hands together.

shared door-handles,
stair-way railings,
desks on which you can still see
the faint leftovers of anti-bacterial wipes.

the zoom calls.
i see my classmates, my professors on the screen.
in my dorm, i stay, usually, alone.
my roommate is staying at home.

i wonder if i am wrong for not feeling anything right now.
i spit out excuses upon excuses about why i don't want to visit home -
"what if i'm asymptomatic?" "what if i have it but we don't know yet?"
"i don't want you to put into danger, there's fifty, sixty, seventy cases now."

"i don't know if i can come home for my birthday."

even though i already know what they've gotten me.
"hell, even if i can, i don't know if i want to."
even though i am so, so lonely here.

"no, dad, i can't come home, i have an in-person class."
even though it's dangerous to be in-person.
"if i don't have a ride back, why would i come home?"
even though i want to.

there's a pandemic around and i feel indifferent.
it could cripple me if i get it. i might already have it.
yet, i go to the dining halls, i go to my in-person class,
i hang around my friends like there's nothing.

i wear my mask even when we're off-campus or
in a friend's car. i check my temperature every morning
and every night before i sleep. i use hand sanitizer whenever
i can.

but even with all these precautions, who knows?
i might already be infected.
and i'll be one of the many made to quarantine.
but am i freaking about it?

no. i don't think i can.