sink drain summer

Image of Short Fiction Contest - 2020
Image of Poetry

i spend my nights staring at the sink drain,

trying to see if i can spot my plans pouring down it.

all the hours of carefully constructed ideas and perfectly planned projects,

gone with my eggshells and coffee grounds.


i know what the companies all say:

this is nothing but a hiccup.

ignore the deaths, ignore the warnings, just buy a car.

they say it'll go "back to normal", all the ads and the emails calling the times uncertain, unprecedented, as if they were more than just unknown, but i don’t think they will.

i don’t think they should.


how can a society go "back to normal" if there never was one? how do we make up for all the lost time and the lost plans that evaporated in the face of disaster?

we can't give back the first day of sales to a new restaurant, or the first day of a summer internship to a student. what do we do about the proms, the graduations, the field days, the weddings that were taken by the time?


we can reschedule. we can push and cram and reorganize our calendars until they burst open and spill their color coded guts everywhere, but we can't pretend that time hasn't passed.


i'm sick of everyone treating this summer like a pause button.

time is passing, and people are dying.


i want to feel hopeful again.

the hope i hold is fragile and shallow, like water sloshing in my cupped hands,

and i fear it will leave me the same way my opportunities have.


they’ve fled, nimble as silver-scaled fish, through my fingers and out of my grasp.

i know we’ll find new opportunities in place of the ones that fled, but i'm tired of trying to hold onto my hope when all i see are numbers rising and rising and rising.


so maybe tonight, when i look into the sink drain, i won't fish for my lost opportunities. i'll just take the last of my hope and pour it away,

let it drain through the grate into

the time we've lost.