You Know You’ve Got Covid Brain

when you realize your dress is inside out / take
it off to fix it / put it back on / & then realize
it’s still inside out / when you text all your exes
try to fan an old flame / afraid a new ember may
stray to wildfire / too tender for tinder / too tired
for tending / when you unfurl in pink sheets /
fat starfish suctioned to a reef / when furlough
makes you lazy / or maybe it’s just the first time
you’ve stopped moving in 36 years long enough
to hear your own pulse / & the cicadas / & the
crickets trilling / & the refrigerating humming /
& the dryer tumbling your clothes gentle as a
lover might flip you without intent to hurt you /
when your chiropractor is the only one who’s
touched you in 4 months / & he’s old & you
can’t see his face behind his mask / & it’s not
sexual / it’s just a need he’s filling outside of the
need he’s being paid to fill / & you arch against
his heavy hands like a hungry sky / a horizon that
can’t be reached no matter how far you drive /
when you’re starting to forget touch / names of
streets / days of the week / but you remember
the strange meat of your dreams / scraps of
purple / of her / & dogs attacking / when the
world becomes blur of smoke & storm / mask &
flag / a bouquet of bullets & names to be said /
shouted / grieved / engraved / remember shards
of childhood pressed like a pill beneath your
tongue / coming loose / when it’s all coming
loose & you know you must surrender to the
hot blue night / listen to the song of your empty
house / your lush lonely / when you take your
self off & try to fix it / when you realize you’re
still
                              inside
                                                            out

 

 

 

 

Molly Pershin Raynor is a poet, educator, and organizer. She co-founded RAW Talent with Donté Clark, now the RYSE Center’s Performing Arts Program, which serves youth in Richmond, California. Her work is highlighted in the documentary film Romeo Is Bleeding. Her poetry has been featured on NPR and published in several literary magazines, including Vinyl, The Rumpus, Split Lip Magazine, and Porkbelly Press.