The Poetry Project

Panic Scroll

Erika Hodges

Each day feels like so many days.

hi, how are you treading water today, friend?

A man is standing outside Key Foods
collecting signatures on an unrelated topic
He sees the dissonant colors
the calm beige of petition
the hot tangerine of a line
both to enter and exit
a grocery store, wrapped around
and yet,

if it is hopeless it is also fearless.

did you find a pharmacy that will refill your medication?

and then,
each night that I am more afraid
I say to myself, to God,
to all of us still in this city,
not fled for home:

if I am afraid, I am still hopeful
this, this could make it different
we could live, we could really live
together and for each other, alive
after this is over, after the “before”
has been undone.

please let me know when you have taken your temperature.

the virus of the next gig
the virus of Nelnet
the virus of delivery fees
the virus of interest rates
the virus of the resume
the virus of networking
the virus of Aetna
the virus of broker fees
the virus of 1099 & W2

may our streets stay empty
(they are still ours)
while this virus decimates
all these past life viruses

our empty streets:

we want you here, more alive than before
we love you! we love you! we love you!

Work from Shifting Concepts: from Poem to Body