Photography © Chad Parenteau


Quarantine Time

I just realized
It has been more than two months
and today is the last day of May

I learned to buy two bags of toilet paper, one for backup, like they did during the Depression
Still shocked to think about the first time I saw all of the empty shelves in Walmart
No eggs, no milk, no meat
I remember the last two boxes of spaghetti pasta which someone dropped in a panic and ended
up on a different shelf
I was luckily to be able to get my hands on them

I learned to treasure what I own, this house, my shelter
I finally got time to write
I treated this time like a mini-sabbatical I never thought I would get

Crab Apple and Asian Pear trees bloomed when Spring arrived and then the fuchsia
and white pedals fell to the ground
new green leaves come out on the branches when the summer came

New twigs on my Navajo Willow tree grew and I found a new nest in it
I observed how the nest was built from fallen leaves, dead twigs, and flower pedals
An old nest was found in another Willow tree and I learned the nest was made with old branches
fallen from the tree in the front yard

I got the chance to water my trees and learned about how to take care of them
to smell my trees and know what they smell like and whether they are sick or healthy and
find ladybugs and larvae in the branches hidden among the newly grown twigs and leaves

I got the chance to view a pack of wild horses passing me by
and a spectrum of colorful flowers in the desert
to learn when exactly the sun sets and rises and when exactly the
birds in my yard waking up singing
in the morning


Dr. Yi-Wen Huang is from Taiwan and an Associate Professor of English and Linguistics at UNM-Gallup. She lived and attended universities in New York and Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on language and affect. Her hobbies include zumba, winter hiking, thrift shopping, edm, and traveling as a foodie and tea aficionado.

Chad Parenteau is Associate Editor of Oddball Magazine. His newest collection, The Collapsed Bookshelf, is available now.