The Poetry Shed

A Space for Writers

Emily’s Ode to Quarantine

among the same floorboards 
and green carpet I learned to walk on,
at the dining room table-turned-desk,
among the stacks of books 
I haven’t read yet,
in my bedroom that is always 
I isolate. 
Surrounded by
half-empty bottles of hand sanitizer
and the sound of the news on a constant loop,
fear when my mother
leaves for and returns from 
the hospital where she works, 
the smell of leftovers and disinfectant,
I isolate. 
Only you
keep me here, away from 
the work I love to do,
the friends I love to be around,
the apartment I thought I had more time in.
Only you 
keep me in fear,
give me cracked and dry hands from
washing and drying, 
sanitizing, and then sanitizing again.
Only you
can take away my vacations, 
my freedom, 
my sense of security. 
Only you
can make me afraid 
to leave my house,
to breathe deeply,
to hug my own mother. 
Because you’re here,
I isolate.

--Emily G