Photography © Chad Parenteau


How the Pandemic Affects Me Personally
for Regie Cabico

All my dreams take place in locker rooms. Nobody’s naked. Nobody talks.

I debate about binging Lost yet resist.

Across the street, one tree waves a friendly hello.

This one tree is ready to speak. The trees are ready to speak. Are we ready to listen?

I run around the park amidst them, my bleached mouth masked in fear and silence.

My ears are open. I spot robins and wrens hop nearby. Not fly.

The bathroom sink is covered with beard hair. Can’t deal.

Hardboiled eggs prove convenient. Must eat.

The lists I keep of the day’s accomplishments are humbling, pointless, recycled, required.

What might energize me today?

Option 1: The libido

Option 2: The sun

Option 3: Vitamin B injections

For now, I’m dressing for the 1950s.

Just now, the sound of a vacuum calms my nerves.

Yes now, I’m leaving this beloved city.

I no longer live here.

You see…

I reside in a rent-controlled apartment,

a walkup in the middle of a giant nowhere,

a hideaway without functional doors.

[Door buzzer does its thing.]


Drew Pisarra is the author of Publick Spanking, a collection of short stories published by Future Tense, and Infinity Standing Up, a collection of queer sonnets published by Capturing Fire. He is also one half of Saint Flashlight, an ongoing literary activation project with Molly Gross, that finds inventive ways to get poetry into public spaces.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.