#FlattenTheCurve: Social Distancing by J.P. Dancing Bear


A man asked over the internet,
Do you know anyone who has gotten sick?
None of his friends say Yes,
and he convinces someone
to venture outside.
The obvious point that what we’ve done
Is working, is lost on them.

Today, I fried the last two eggs.
I thought of tipping my hat to Carruth
and chasing them with the final shot
of whiskey.

I’ll need to go to the empty aisles
of my local grocery store soon.
I will have to suit up, say a prayer.

I’ve listened to the news all day again…
The world is a positive test result,
the world is a false negative,
the world tested positive
on a second wave, and now
no one knows how we end.

The Money Demon says it’s time
to go back to our work—Only old
people die.

It’s not true.

People die before
they get their results.
In their kitchens. Or bundled
on their couch, binge watching
the stories of love and death.
Drowning horribly, gasping unheard
into the lonely air of their rooms.

Did I mention that in the emptiness
of my room, I answered yes?
I had some friends who died.



J. P. Dancing Bear (Featured Poet, October, 2017) is co-editor for the Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently, Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015), and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His work has appeared or will shortly in American Literary Review, Crazyhorse, the DIAGRAM and elsewhere.


Photograph by Wren Tuatha.

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