Before the Quarantine


I questioned your use of exotic
before I wore the mask,

before I snuck home past
shuttered bars, nail salons.

A man at Costco pushed a cart
full of Q-tips. I couldn’t stop

touching my lips. Before lockdown
I lost my breath & left glove

running for a train I missed,
turned back in time to see

a pink UGG on the Church Avenue
steps trample my black wool

fingers, thumb. Is this the Q?
I asked. As if explaining

everything, a stranger said,
It’s going express.

Hilary Sideris has recently published poems in The American Journal of Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Free State Review, Gravel, The Lake, Main Street Rag, Rhino, Salamander, and Southern Poetry Review. She is the author of Most Likely to Die (Poets Wear Prada 2014), The Inclination to Make Waves (Big Wonderful 2016), Un Amore Veloce (Kelsay 2019) and The Silent B (Dos Madres 2019). You can follow her on Twitter @hilarysidereal.

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