PAD 2020 – Day 1

Today’s draft combines the NaPoWriMo prompt asking for a self-portrait poem written through an action, with the Poetic Asides prompt calling for a “new world” poem.


Grocery Shopping in the New World


The future used to seem limitless

but now I can’t see past 14 days.

Two-week wait for online grocery delivery.

We have the essentials

but I indulgently crave bananas.

Is it worth braving the snow, the microbes,

the condemning looks of neighbours

as they peek out from their blinds?

I poll everyone for their needs, wants

and substitutes. Who knows which shelves

will be empty today? I add yeast to the list.

Creating a sourdough starter is an act of faith

I never needed until now.

I clear and disinfect a counter. Order everyone

to treat it like a surgery table. Do not touch.

When I return, laden with bags and worry,

I need a safe spot for cleaning. To sanitize

everything from out there before we use it

in here. Wipe boxes, scrub cans, bathe

fresh produce in a soapy sink, like I did my babies.

When I return, I’ll throw my gloves and mask

in the garbage bin. Leave my boots at the door.

Strip and carry my sullied clothes down to the laundry room.

Wash my hands, I’ve lost count how many times today.

Clean everything I think I touched.

When I return, I won’t answer my kids when they

ask me how it was. Craving some taste of the

outside world more than the chocolate ice cream

they’re watching me unload from the bag.

How can I tell them that no one smiles, not

even the ones without masks? That no one even

makes eye contact? That store aisles now

islands of solitude — only one person at a time

may survey soup selections. That every product

selection comes with risk mitigation. Strategy.

Can I reach that box of cereal at the back

without touching any others?

How long

can we last

without touching?


grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on




2 thoughts on “PAD 2020 – Day 1

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