Coronavirus poem 6: Quarantine Ceremony

I have brushed my hair. I have brushed my animal’s hair. I have swept all the hair from the floorboards and pulled it from the drains. I have rearranged my bookshelf. I’ve told myself I will get better at taking care of things, like house plants. I have fucked the person I love. The person I love has fucked me, there is a difference, and now is not the time to make love. That comes later. Now we are bored and we are angry. Worst of all we are powerless. We are sheltering in place. We are stuck inside and we are exchanging the small amount of power we do have by candlelight. We are fighting about what to do next. I have begged the person I love to stay, I have ordered him to go home. I have said things like, “Before it gets too bad,” and, “You need to do what’s best for you.” I have cried in the middle of the kitchen while holding a pink flower in one hand, and a drugstore thermometer in the other. I’ve said, “Don’t worry,” and, “I love you.” I have promised to get in my car and drive all the way to California if I have to. Sometimes it’s okay to lie. I have painted the trim along my window, a pale bloom. I have watched the neighborhood from the roof sit still. I have watched the construction of the new casino obstruct my view. I have seen it come to a halt, right there in the middle of the skyline. I have watched the whole world pause, but for some reason it feels more frozen on the reservation. I have told the person I love about our tribe’s Salmon ceremony, how we celebrated its arrival, but I have forgotten the details of ceremony. I have called my mother. I’ve asked for her frybread recipe. At least we have food, but this food feels defeated. Still, I have made it for him twice, and each time it didn’t come out quite right, but I’ll keep trying because there is no salmon, because I want to make something good, before he leaves, before I might not ever see him again.