We locked down early in March, everything but groceries and liquor stores and cover your face if you cough, please, you over there wandering the tequila aisle. Everything closed in March, but liquor was deemed essential and it was, essentially, for me alone in my apartment. Wegmans ran out of toilet paper, another essential, all of it gone, hoarded. I walked miles without seeing anyone or I watched TV and talked to myself. Eventually Wegmans ran out of cat food so my cats ate whatever I fed them – mouse guts, bat brains – while I binged on Schitt’s Creek and knit socks. My cats licked the fur off their legs. Nerves, the vet said, and prescribed pills they were out of at Wegmans. I knit scarves and mittens to give away to my friends if I ever saw them again and cried when Schitt’s Creek ended. When I didn’t sleep for weeks, the doctor said anxiety and prescribed hot milk and no TV. My apartment silted up with raveling hats awaiting pompoms. I Zoomed with friends, little squares on a screen. Cover your mouth, I said when one of them coughed, and when the world opened up again, I stayed locked up, closed down, essentially alone.
Sarah Freligh 🔈
Pantoum for 2020
About the Author
Sarah Freligh is the author of four books, including Sad Math, winner of the 2014 Moon City Press Poetry Prize and the 2015 Whirling Prize from the University of Indianapolis, and We, published by Harbor Editions in early 2021. Recent work has appeared in the Cincinnati Review miCRo series, SmokeLong Quarterly, Wigleaf, Fractured Lit, and in the anthologies New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction (Norton 2018), Best Microfiction (2019 - 22) and Best Small Fiction 2022. Among her awards are poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Saltonstall Foundation.