Photography © Chad Parenteau


Eve of Lockdown

Four women in a room and it doesn’t seem forward to ask that we remain
until the verdict.
Bodies in a space,
That’s all you need to make good theatre.

Laptops hum.
We exist in a vacuum.
Time drifts, elastic
A phone bleats:
“Is this what we’ve waited for?”
And yes, it is.

One. One case and we disperse,
an eruption of ants cresting
in response to minute vibrations
that ripple in days to come,
echo in nights to come
19. Sleepless.
17. False optimism.

30. Shock.
7. Trepidation.
What will tomorrow bring?

52. It’s real. Meanwhile, 1500 elsewhere
That is surreal.

We wait to be named; contacts of those contacted,
fearing we may have had contact, contracted the sickness.
Meanwhile the sickness that infiltrates our minds is forced to queue.
Bunker down, half drunk in sorrows,
somehow lucid with adrenaline.

Holding pattern:
Refresh, check, refresh –
This way lies madness.
Now thousands are the norm.

Today 300 felt safe.
We wait and realize
normality is relative.


Megan Cartwright is an author, poet, teacher/ sometimes insane person. Her poetry has emerged from – and attempts to reconcile – her experience of a real-life dystopia.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine.