Cathexis Northwest Press
Check Email. Scroll Twitter.; Biopsy
By: Paul Rousseau
Check Email. Scroll Twitter.
Feed the dog. Check email. Scroll Twitter. 2000 deaths. Listen for sirens. Drink two cups of coffee. 10,000 deaths. Stare at motes of dust in shafts of sunlight. Check email. Scroll Twitter. 35,000 deaths. Mourn humanity. Check email (on the toilet). Scroll Twitter (on the toilet). 50,000 deaths. Clip my toenails. Peer through the blinds at the lonely avenues. 100,000 deaths. Read obituaries in the local newspaper (25 pages, small print). Check email. Scroll Twitter. 120,000 deaths. Contemplate my mortality. Take a walk. 125,000 deaths. Observe the rain. Yearn for a morsel of comfort. 135,000 deaths. Feed the dog. Check email. Scroll Twitter. Sleep. Dream dystopian nightmares. Awaken. Refresh and repeat.
You called, late evening,
Children, wife, work—
In hesitant voice, Measured my life In months.
Paul Rousseau is published in sundry literary journals. A lover of dogs, he lives in Charleston, SC, and longs to return home to the west.
"The poem Check Email. Scroll Twitter. evolved from the initial despair of the COVID pandemic when I found myself isolated with two dogs, continuously checking my email and scrolling Twitter, both in hopes of comfort as well as contact with a fellow human being. Solitude is a valuable component of living until it becomes loneliness.
The poem Biopsy is derived from a telephone call a friend received regarding a biopsy result. The pathology revealed cancer. Her life was measured in months."