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This is what I did today
I walked two thousand,
six hundred
and seventy steps
Inside the house
Listening to my sister explain on the phone
For almost an hour
How she is not freaking out
That she found my brother-in-law
Unconscious this morning
And was calling from the hospital parking lot
Because they won’t let her inside

Being alone these days is different
Than being alone used to be
I went three days this week
Without talking to anyone
Until my sister called
Because I kept crying
And couldn’t seem to stop

Human needs don’t stop
With the news cycle
My daughter needs a thousand dollars
For an unexpected medical expense
My son needs to move a thousand miles away
My sister needs to prepare
To let herself grieve
My best friend needs for me
To be easier to love

Is the end coming?
Will we remember or revert?
I have enough food in the house
To last through another plague
But all I want to eat
Is carry out.

Slightly off the Dverse prompt of 3/16/21: “This being human is”, from The Guest House by Rumi.
This poem has always slightly set my nerves on edge because of that first line, so I treated it a little differently.

Also Plague Series #57

31 thoughts on “Guest house

  1. I finally got around to reading your poem, Xan. It’s taken me from around eight o’clock to just gone one to get through the wonderful Poetics offerings – quite a task! I love the way you wove the words from the prompt line into your poem – a clever twist – and that you have made it so intimate and immediate. I agree that being alone these days is different, and I’ve done my fair share of crying over the past year. This poem packs a punch!

    • Thank you Kim. Your suggestion to simply treat the words differently opened the gates. Not terribly metaphoric, but I think these more concrete poems are where I speak the clearest.

    • Thank you Sanaa. It started as a difficult write, and then Kim gave a good suggestions and it just came pouring out.

  2. Alexandra so sorry to hear about your sister’s partner and that she wasn’t being allowed into the hospital. I can’t imagine the anguish of it. You there at home, helpless but there to get her through it. The other family pile on to that sense of isolation and helplessness. And when friends can’t understand it hurts most of all. We need more than a bridge, we need a superhighway across these troubled waters. {{{{{{{{HUGS}}}}}}}

    • thank you, Rob! This prompt turned out to be a brilliant one; I think it was one of the best collections of response I’ve seen.

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