Self Portrait as an American Girl Doll
The nose is a bit crooked. The eyes
not quite level—the left eye bigger.
At the right angle, you can’t tell.
At the wrong angle, wrinkles appear
as social distancing lines businesses make
to keep people apart or the lines on the streets
Vegas made for their homeless, too.
She auctions her book for food banks
in different cities, applies for jobs three hours
every day, isolates with a friend, practices
smiling. She walks four miles and calls friends
who are alone. She watches new shows
set in other eras every week. Her shoes are wet
with rain, not tears. She only texts her ex to say sorry.
Pandemic Isolation, Day 17
We’re washing our clothes in the bathtub
because the laundromat services are too
risky. Our clothes are starting to feel
stiff, have a lingering odor. We order groceries
online, make recipes without all their ingredients:
korma without ginger, mushroom risotto without
mushrooms, corn chowder without corn, tuna
casserole without peas. Before this happened,
I imagined scheduling a teeth cleaning, an eye
appointment, my annual pap smear before graduation.
Now I wonder what will stop first: the quarantine
or my health insurance. And will it come back?
At home, I see videos of local teachers driving
around the neighborhood with signs about missing
their students. People flirt with gloves on, leave
presents at the door, send gifts for delivery. They come
later than people need. I apologize to everything,
even what I didn’t like about my life I took for granted:
expensive appetizers at the local pub, parking tickets
at happy hour, grocery store shopping, washing
machines, spilled beer on my new shoes at a club,
Cowboys at karaoke, bad Tinder dates, dental fillings,
long lines and waits at restaurants, know-it-alls
I’d like to befriend, hug when this is all over.
BIO: Crystal Stone is the author of two poetry collections, Knock-Off Monarch (Dawn Valley 2018) and All the Places I Wish I Died (CLASH 2021). Her work has previously appeared in a variety of journals including The Threepenny Review, The Hopkins Review, Salamander, Poetry Daily, Writers Resist, among others. She received her MFA from Iowa State University, where she served as a poetry editor for Flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment and gave a TEDx talk on the transformative power of poetry. You can find her on Twitter @justlikeastone8, on Instagram @justlikeastone, and at her website www.crystalbstone.com.
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