This Coloured Body is Used to Quarantine (A Poem)

They telling me on the news to stay home, so I do.

Trapped in my small home, I went for a walk through a park yesterday  – on the way to get some groceries; we were running low.

It almost felt it was the summer.

A group of men playing broom soccer. A bunch of others playing real soccer. Some playing touch football. Social distancing a distant thing.

Their colour camouflaging  with the clouds.

They have the park to themselves again, but they always did.

We wish we could organize sports games, our yellow, brown, and black faces- but in times like these we just walk our separate paths and avoid each other’s glances.

For me, apparently it’s a Chinese disease, meaning I be carefully even where I breathe. Lest we get the same glances we always did – just a little more angry now.

They tell us to go home, while it’s business as usual minus the money we brought in. Reality is our brothers and sisters are the first they fire, first they force to retire, first to be on the front lines perspiring – in the nursing homes, emergency rooms, grocery stores of the city.

They don’t know that we take quarantine so seriously because we’ve been there.

We been there when wars were happening and we couldn’t leave our shelter.

We been there when our loved ones were sick and we stayed constant at bed sides.

We been there when it was a cultural expectation to not show face but face the books from daylight to dusk – rinse repeat.

I wash my hands with the n-th time. I admit 30 seconds is a little too long so I do twenty. Reality is right now I have plenty, but I see these pleas for help and I feel empty.  We all aren’t saints as hard as we try, all of us still worry about this body dying, everybody dying. Still remember that feeling of being so sad but wondering why your not crying. I see it in Dr. Tam’s face.

I struggle, this body wanting to do more, but trapped in reality.

Writing away those feelings of fear and anxiety – where breath itself becomes a little more bated, where things that matter all of sudden become overrated, where we start to appreciate the meaning of ‘essential’ when they’ve been essentially denegrated.

I don’t care about your stocks, or economy, this threat only to your autonomy, and monotony – ones you stripped away from us long ago.

I’m seeing through the phoney, watching this man go baloney, seeing who still calls up a homie, knowing nobody should own me – but they still do.

During these times of panic, the triggers for the manic, dreaming of you tiao and bannock. I’m sad but I think we all are. Maybe just tired. Maybe just reflective. Appreciative. Appreciate this. Appreciate home. Appreciate being alone.

Quarantine. So this is just my third day. Time for you to come home from the park. Let us impose those curfews you never had but we grew up with.

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