“I‘m not going to start the blame game … except to blame the government for sabotaging the CDC and science.”
Editors’ Note: Violinist Jane Soyka lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where Covid-19 spiked dramatically in November. Her story shows how quickly symptoms can go from mild to severe, how dire conditions are in emergency wards, and how confusing the spread can be.
Jane’s first symptoms manifested on November 6. She tested positive on the 10th, and her husband, David, was presumed positive as well. …
“The virus had gone through 50 people before I got it. Many of them took precautions and then just got unlucky, but some of them were careless or didn’t think the rules applied to them …”
Leslie Hayes, M.D., treats patients in Española, New Mexico, a state experiencing one of the most severe crises from the late-November / early-December COVID-19 spike.
Just before Thanksgiving, Leslie caught COVID.
So, 2020 has not been kind to me. I broke my hip and then I got COVID. Unrelated but inconvenient.
So far, it has been a “mild” case, but mild COVID is still quite unpleasant. As I write, I am on Day 10 of symptoms, which have included fatigue, shortness of breath, a horrible sore throat, and a runny nose. …
“… I don’t know if his hands are moving
but I bet they are somehow I’d feel
washed over like that too and be so
proud of us”
Isn’t it a great country he asks me
as we cross the Panhandle
for the second time in three days
I suppose I answer but
why would you say that
right here right
This paved road he says
through these fields and
trucks carrying every imaginable
somewhere many trains you think
we passed in both directions between
these poles the government
look at them put up a long time ago
just to bring electricity so these…
“In the last few years, when I’ve gone abroad it has become an increasingly bigger test of courage to state I’m from the U.S.”
Shortly before leaving England, I took my daughter to our favorite park to let her stomp about a pitted soccer field. It’s an old park surrounded on three sides by woods and on one side by a brick wall of a Victorian-era prison.
Another father was there with two kids: one a toddler the same age as my daughter, keen to push his own stroller; the other was in primary school, huddled over her phone. We got to talking, as people so often do now when emerging from lockdown, and because we were non-white people in an English city. …
“I think for me what is interesting about this series of work is the diversity of voices within myself.”
Editors’ Note: Alexandra (Ali) Blum is a California-based artist who draws on influences from around the world. When the quarantine was put in place, she started a series of paintings — which quickly became a series of mixed-media artworks — addressing the pandemic, politics, climate change, racism, protests, and other big topics of 2020.
On her website, Alexandra describes her goals as an artist: “I am interested in capturing the moment of seeing when something changes and the magic in the everyday. Hiraesh — a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home that maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past is essential to my work. My interior world is of memories of childhood, books, songs, and stories. …
We at Broad Street are proud of everything we publish, and we wish we could nominate all of it for every award out there. Alas, we can choose only a handful. For Best of the Net, some nominees come from our Summer/Fall 2019 “Birth, School, Work, Death” issue, some from our 2020 Pandemonium Blog. All of them come from the heart. Why not give them a read or a re-read right now?
“I Got Grown,” a memoir by Joe Milan, Jr.: A young man begins work where others’ lives end.
“On learning that I should sacrifice myself for the good of the public,” by Lise Haines: from the author’s COVID journals. …
chews your skin with its scissor teeth, through delicate capillaries for the sweet stain of red, it does so completely in earnest.
It ushers in the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. Those misshapen parentheses swim — and they must swim — through passageways, the secrets of your body. The tsetse fly is long gone by the time your central nervous system starts to stutter.
A child catching her breath over the steep hill of a consonant.
What the doctors call sleeping sickness is to the tsetse fly nothing more than the squeal of a hawk catching a barn mouse. …
After Robert Lowell’s “Waking in the Blue”
I weigh one hundred and five pounds
after my New York breakfast
of vanilla Soylent, all I can keep down these days, thanks
to the anti-depressant. I swallow it, beige smoothie,
every four to six hours.
SSRI? Every twenty-four.
My roommate asks if I will eat something.
No, a real something,
and I do.
Nobody wants to live with a corpse.
I want to show him — all of them —
strut around this city, skin melting off bones, screaming, “I am here!”
to the Brooklyn Bridge, all 14,680 tons of her. …
“Maybe depression is a normal response to a global pandemic. We don’t really have benchmarks for such an event. If I get down, what can I use to help me bounce back?”
I do not plan to cry.
I am lying on my back, watching my husband put on his pajamas. I have brushed my teeth and turned out my light.
“That was a good episode,” he says, pulling on his flannel PJ pants. “The scene when the brother and his wife…” He trails off, chuckling.
Oh god, I think. He is laughing about a scene on the show Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist in which Zoey’s brother admits to his wife that he has been counting — down to the hour — since the last time they had sex. …
“I said, Fix me.”
I wanted a thing in the shape of a Yom Kippur fast, smelling
of hands clasped in anguish. I bought it online.
The package slid up and down in various directions
on black belts in one of Amazon’s famous fulfillment centers
outside a major city. Philadelphia. Baltimore. Columbus, Ohio.
A computer scanned and tracked its progress.
It was shipped to me by average humans with choppy beards,
braids in their hair, or buns. As their system weighed
the ephemeral to ensure my order was correct, I wondered
Did I want this? Too late. Bed frames. Beauty products. …