Cori Dunton

corijean.co       @corijeandunton

A poem on living alone during the pandemic. Before March 2020 hit, I had been living alone in my tiny apartment in Golden Hill for 5 years. I thought I was good at being alone. But quarantine was a new kind of solitude, and soon a deep well of grief sprang up that I didn't realize was waiting right under the surface. Days turned into weeks that wove into months of stillness and silence and aloneness. I'm grateful for these days. For the slowing down and staying still. And I'm acutely aware of how painful they were and what they revealed to me about who I really am when the world slows down.

You will wake up in the morning
And forget to remember you have no place to be
You will roll over and starfish on your mattress
You will remember how much you hate this mattress
Some days you will dance
In your empty living room
Open all the windows
Thank the sun for not being too tired
To stay for dinner.
Other days you will dead bolt your doors
Sink into walls
You will fill your empty bed
With the few honest bits of yourself you can muster
You will hopscotch between these days
Until you cannot tell the difference
When you are falling asleep
Under the creaky fan and the blaring lights from the liquor store across the street
Do not think about the boys
Who turned your heart
Into skipping music boxes.
Do not think about the men
Others say you keep missing
Do not wonder why you have no one to quarantine with
Wonder why it has taken you so long to carve a shelter from your own ribs
Remember you are never too late to build something new
Take up the practice of talking to yourself
Learn to let your own voice boom
Learn to love the sound
Learn to sing along to the echo of your footsteps on kitchen tile,
To the screaming kettle
To the simple magic of this indoor life
That maybe, just maybe,
Exists only this once
So, light every good candle you have
Especially the expensive ones you were saving for rainy days
Decide for good, that joy is the last thing you will stockpile
Cook all the curry you want
Steal the sheets
Drop the dishes
Cry in the shower
Feel the pendulum swing from grateful to lonely in an instant
Let it swing
Let yourself be human in your own home
Remember this curse becomes a gift in a single breath.
You have no one
To apologize to