Wednesday Poem

A Dispatch From Seattle or, Nervous in the Hot Zone

Yes, we’re scared but we also make
zombie apocalypse jokes

By texts. I don’t know when I’ll see
my friends in person again.

We don’t want to panic and overreact
but we don’t want

To underreact. Some of my friends
are still hosting parties.

Some of them are still planning
to take their previously

Scheduled trips overseas. Some are
the polite looters

Who are buying all the toilet paper
in Seattle.

“Good for you,” I text to one of them.
“You’ll be

The most hygienic and well-stocked
shitter in the city.”

Some of my fellow Native Americans
are performing

The highly sacred Indigenous shrug,
as in, “Dude,

They’re not giving us smallpox

But, hey, it’s the Trumps. Their
wicked incompetence

And delusional arrogance is
striking us

With smallpox of the soul.
I try to listen

Only to the health experts,
but the dipshits,

Conspiracy theorists, partisan
hacks, trolls,

And the mentally ill dominate
the discourse,

As they always do. How did
we get to a place

Where the borderline personalities
get quoted

As if they were experts by borderline

Who also act as if they’re experts,
as well?

Maybe the true pandemic is

Maybe the true pandemic is
the loss

Of a shared and common

But, hell, that’s big talk
for someone

Like me, who just angrily,

And paranoidly bought
$500 worth

Of canned food. And yet,
I also know

That people are good. I know
that most of us

Will reflexively switch
into kindness

Mode. That’s what humans,
at their best,

Have almost always done.
In the meantime,

Here I am, re-binging on Parks
      and Recreation

As I serve myself another bowl
of lactose-free

Ice cream and rhyme my way
through self-quarantine.

by Sherman Alexie
from Rattle Magazine