I measured my life in thirds
back then –
where before it was
half-for-you and
half-for-them –
and I’m left holding
the empty paper bag,
suitable for hyperventilating.
I know better now.
A pandemic is no excuse
for neglecting self-care.
I’ve read all the books.
I sure do know better.
You’re right: a careful
response saved me
from spilling words
of regret.
Yet, a measured life is
Exacting recipes seem to
work out –
it’s a chemistry
as much as an art –
but what if I wanted
to add cinnamon –
or cloves – or nutmeg?
Or chili flakes when it calls
for cocoa powder?
Nothing prescribed.
Routines and tedium
and these set
expectations –
should remain as
rare exceptions.
Soon the cold
sets into stone
and this once-fluid water,
refreshing and true,
a pure icy formula –
freezes into some burden,
an unthought-of chore.
A pandemic is no excuse
for forgetting.
What about spontaneity?
Sometimes those things
unsaid hold
heavier weight
than things already said.
I still have an empty
paper bag, suitable
for hollow words.