Quar Is Over (If You Want It)

Image of Long Story Short Award - Fall 2020
Image of Poetry

everything I need to know about the state of the world,
I find out at Trader Joe’s.
the first time,
the city marred by frivolous unconcern,
I pried my roommate away
from board game night at our beloved café to drive me
(not knowing the café itself would be boarded-up in less than a month)
everything was there, even rolling hills of toilet paper.
everything was there, even my lover in his riverside apartment.

the second time,
we were herded like farm animals into a punctuated line down the block -
I tried hunkering down and not spending a cent
until I’d eaten through EVERYTHING, like
I did when we ate mostly from church food pantries,
but I couldn’t - orange cones marking six feet apart getting kicked,
spraying our hands with alcohol at the entrance
(remembering to ‘milk the thumbs’),
looking diffidently at the mini tortellinis like how many days in a row could
I eat these before giving up and ordering takeout.

the last time,
there was a Chutes-and-Ladders route to follow through the aisles,
orderly and sterile,
not a naked mouth in the place. we always nab a pack of toilet paper on impulse now
(after being reduced to four rolls total for four people and bartering for more like villagers in wartime)
but like Lot’s wife, hastily,
I turned back, for some premade falafel
(it’s been on my shopping list for three whole months).


We were all at some point an egg, floating
in fluid inside the shelter of an armspan.

My egg is a balcony overlooking the pike with a swing chair,
with floral pillows, with twinkling lights, with a clay pot of petunias.

I discover new places to sit, and new ways to arrange myself in
these same beige armchairs we’ve had since this sanctuary was a bachelor pad.

Bouncing around in the same ten outfits for fourteen weeks. I’m a yolk, a
chick, afraid of getting cooked if I dare break away from my stairwell.

But I can only put it off so long... wait, I had
three eggs this morning and now there’s only one.

Who’s been eating my goddamn eggs ?


Every time it’s cold
In Hobart park
We wish it was hot
And every time it’s hot
We wish it was cold

With the passing weeks
Day after day after day
The neighborhood trickles in
Spectators suntanning in
Lawn chairs and teen punks
Trying to knock the boards
Off the basketball hoops
(“No fun allowed”)

It becomes a salve
For the restlessness
The clack-clacking of the
Jump rope against pavement
Or the beep-beeping
Of the interval timer

How many jumps have we
Jumped in ninety-six days ?
How curious it is to show up
Every day at the same time
Move in the same controlled
Manner on the same axis
And find your

We befriend all the dogs
They sit in our shade
Coco and Chanel, the
Miyazaki tumbleweeds
Remy and Billie, the bassets
Who howl the moment we
Stop scratching behind
Their droopy ears
Brody the shepherd pup
Whose Hallmark-card parents
Chase him around on
Roller skates

Every few days we say
“Imagine being a dog right now”
And there’s no punch line
We just do it
Lay on our stomachs
Cheek on our hands
Sun on our backs
Hearing the cheep-cheeping
Of a robin somewhere

When we get back up
We jump and we jump and we jump
Until the handles fall off
Until the world corrects itself