Self Portrait by Crystal Stone

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.


20190417_193056

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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