Robert Ronnow
                                                                                            Long As You're Living



                             Covid Cashier


Quiet, dawn, Covid.
Biggest accomplishment yesterday: buying toilet paper.
Thanking the young cashier for doing her job.
Feeling a little sick, wearing my mask and gloves,
Spring oblivious to the virus, an idiot like Millay said.
At least we’re not beheading each other—yet.

Symptoms mild so far. Today rest,
no long walk, no knee bends.
I think I’ve watched every possible movie and tv show
and nothing’s left that doesn’t bore me.
I could learn the calculus, chemistry or physics
but will I and what for?

Most poetry is chopped up prose. That’s harsh
but true. But that’s because most days
are prose or yesterday’s news. Win or lose
sumthins gonna getcha. Drug cartel assassin, the blues.
If not now, when? Some other Wednesday. Why wait?
I wish I had some wisdom to translate.

It’s living and helping others to live
that counts, I guess. Cast a cold eye and guess,
walk the extra mile, report from the besieged city, be wise or a jerk.
I hope to get the antibodies the easy way,
mild symptoms, no brush with death, don't intubate.
An existential bessemer process, strange quark,

chances are I won’t be able to organize this day into an expressible state.
A daily exchange with nature’s enough
to alleviate my fear.
When I thanked the cashier
her smile was like the sun coming out from behind clouds
or the end of the pandemic, as if I had not wasted my life.


Copyright 2020 by Robert Ronnow. Acknowledgements.