Quarantine

While you sit at home
and do whatever keeps you breathing,
the God of Time will chop the days up fine,
dice them with that blue knife you bought at Costco,
long before the days
when they ran out of toilet paper.

He will labor over the task,
and the smell of Time will be pungent in the air,
and he will ask you if you want a taste.
The juice of Time will shock you,
the way the skin yields between your teeth,
and you will wonder how you never noticed
that a single second could hold so many flavors.

While you lie down at home
and do whatever keeps you safe,
the God of Nightmares will crawl between your sheets,
which you bought at Target,
long before the days when Target
was a warzone.

Your ravenous bed will try to swallow you whole.
Nightmare’s breath will fill your ribcage,
and Nightmare’s pulse will fill your bloodstream,
and you will reach out to cling to your mother in the dark.

Lord, I hope you can still call your mother.

I hope that if you are alone when you wake,
you find yourself the softest thing –
blanket, pillow, dolly, bear –
and let yourself be small,
let your feet run down the hallway,
let yourself rush back into the childhood
whose healing may finally be here.

While you pace the floors at home
and do whatever keeps you moving,
the God of Sickness will descend upon the earth,
all black-clad and masked-faced,
arms full of apologies.

Your hand will grope in the night,
the cool of your palm searching for your forehead,
and you will feel that it is warm,
and you will pray that it is not too warm.

People will die outside,
and they will die in your dreams,
and they will die in slow-motion,
and they will die faster than we can count them.
They will cast their eyes to the heavens.
They will pray for the world.
They will pray for their souls.

I know I’ve been praying for mine.

While you stay at home
and do whatever keeps you hopeful,
the God of Wisdom will take your chin in his hands,
turn your face toward the window,
blend sunrises into sunsets for you,
give the birds a louder voice for you,
give the moon a kinder face for you.

Compassion will wrestle the mic from fear
on a thousand stages, screaming to a thousand theaters
where only nine souls watch from the cheapest seats.

But God said where two are more are gathered,
He would be.

So we gather on our balconies to sing,
gather in our living rooms to cry,
gather with our screens between us,
reaching out
with the cleanest hands we’ve ever known
to touch other hands
through pixels and glass.

We will hope and despair.
We will scream and fall silent.
We will anoint ourselves with oil
and cover ourselves with ashes,

and we will never forget the time
when every God came down
to render us useful,
and tender
together.