Not Ideal

I am trying to remember what my face used to look like
so I can draw it on.

I am trying to decide if I’m really at work
or if this whole thing is imagined.

The only lights on in the building are the ones that come on
when you walk into a room.

I walk into many rooms for their silent applause.

It’s weird how you have to keep moving or they turn back off.

Then I get up from my desk and walk around
or just accept the dark.

It’s usually best to accept things.

My office mate once untangled my phone cord and asked me
why I hadn’t.

It hadn’t occurred to me.

I realized something important about myself then.

I do circle my eyes in eyeliner and draw on my eyebrows
and straighten my hair and pluck the mole
above my lip even though it will be under my mask.

Once I asked my son if the mole was unsightly,
and he replied that it was Not Ideal.

Now when something is Not Ideal, I point at my upper lip.

I sleep a lot, but I’m always tired.

After I teach in my mask, my throat hurts, and I have to lie down.

When I get home. I feel the way I used to feel when I was pregnant.
My body was making another body and needed to concentrate.

I lie in my bed under my wool blanket but not under all the covers.

Because I’ll be back in it soon, and I want it to feel different.

My kids are grown up.

I am inside that, like Jonah in the whale, and then together,
the whale and I are inside the Pandemic.

The furnace comes on, and sometimes this is comforting.

But sometimes I feel we are too close, me and the furnace.

I mean, shouldn’t it come on sometimes without my knowing?

I was always frightened by Jonah and the Whale.

It seemed unlikely to me that if a whale swallowed me,
I would ever get out.

Laura Read is an educator and poet and was Spokane’s second poet laureate.

Article Source: Inlander