Whenever You’re Ready




Whenever You’re Ready

I am ready to talk about quarantine.
First, isolation &
quarantine are vastly different things.
They can overlap. They can feel
like the same weighted beam
across resistant shoulders.
But they are distinct.
One is a carefully crafted
labyrinth where a surface
may shine with
a deadly variant. No one
is around to make you feel
weird for whatever
tiptoeing you may be doing.
Dodging invisible particles,
wishing they were
bullets. Something with a face.
Something that sounds
an alarm.

The other is a smaller maze.
Your own walls,
your body, your loved one,
are deadly weapons. Quarantine
pounds nails of guilt
into dry, chapped hands.
Quarantine has a smell.
Disinfectant tinged with fear.
Quarantine means the enemy
has found a way in.

There’s a seat at the table
that will never be filled again.
There is a voice you will never
hear sing again. There is a goodbye
you will never be able to give.

There is loneliness &
there is being alone. There are
a multitude of worlds
within a cell phone
but none
hold the physical body
of one who has passed.
One who was taken.
One who moved on.

There are traces.
Scents. Digital footprints.
Creased photographs.
Incessant memories.
There are reminders
lurking in every
crevice you’ll clean
because it is your only
defense. Your only
hope for shielding.

Both hold illnesses,
just different shades.
Different symptoms.
Different sounds
in the static. Both
claim you. Both hold you.
Down.

I lied.
I’m not ready
to talk
about quarantine.
I’m not ready
to talk.

It’s not over.
The walls of hope
exist. Somewhere.
The other ones
are closing in.




Published by Jennifer Patino

Poet.

3 thoughts on “Whenever You’re Ready

  1. There is loneliness &
    there is being alone. There are
    a multitude of worlds
    within a cell phone
    but none
    hold the physical body
    of one who has passed.
    One who was taken.
    One who moved on.

    ❤ Wow, Jenn. I really felt this poem. It's so raw.

    Yours,
    David

    Liked by 2 people

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