absentee lungs : old abuses surfacing in new aches : alcohol wipes, 70% : besieged by her lover’s worry, she consults a bot about her symptoms : cardboard boxes accumulating in her blue bin : construction continues outside her bedroom window twelve hours a day : contact-hungry, she rambles to her lover’s apartment, mashing crosswalk buttons with her elbow : doctors, she reads, have begun to ration care : empty hotel rooms wild across the downtown corridor : encampments erupt beneath expressways : friendly conversation yelled over a rift of cars : the future, suddenly detonated : golden retrievers glimpse each other from afar, forlornly : she hews to idle streets : jangles the keys at her lover’s back door : life & life & life & : a list of events, postponed indefinitely : live music, family reunions, surgeries : elective, supposedly : she lathers glacially between every finger : masks pile up in waste disposal : her clothes pile up on the floor : no going back, not anymore : nurses divert patients to tents in the parking lot : one knuckle at a time, laboring in soap and hot water : parents touch hands with children through Plexiglass screens : plaintive letters dropped in mailboxes, reaching past quarantine : her pre-existing conditions include swollen lungs, race, a lack of self-preservation : quote : Reno said some people are too expensive to save : she hears her own name : she hears the harness tighten : skin on leather on metal on skin : the bottom line is, Jeff Bezos makes the cost of 3,140,000 ventilators in a year : six ventilators in a minute : her lover buys her tulips from the corner store, their stems sterilized in bleach : a voicemail from public health tells her to stay home : warehouse workers without paid sick leave fill her sanitizer order : she disinfects the light switches for two minutes straight : if it takes x hours to unzip her hands from her lover’s hair, what is the likelihood they will both fall sick : yesterday, she licked every doorknob in the hallway : she knows her old stories : the sacrifices they urge : down to the last word : the last letter
Jody Chan is a writer, drummer, organizer and therapist based in Toronto. They are the author of haunt (Damaged Goods Press, 2018), all our futures (PANK, 2020), and sick (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), winner of the 2018 St. Lawrence Book Award. Their work has been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, and has been published in Third Coast, BOAAT, Yes Poetry, Nat. Brut, The Shade Journal, and elsewhere. They can be found online at https://www.jodychan.com/ and offline in bookstores or dog parks.