May 14, 2020

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach

Dear L,

A punch in the stomach,

that’s how my morning started

or ended, depending on how

you mark time and distance.

My son’s fist the place

where I begin or end.

Our bodies strange clocks

whose hands have stopped

working. And isn’t that

the question now, L?

Is today the 59th morning

since the start of such mornings

or another sunrise closer

to their ending? My mother

is looking for vacation rentals.

I need something to look

forward to, she says, or I’ll go crazy.

Choknus’. How our language

already fits choke inside

of madness. The expression

to go crazy and to clink glasses,

one and the same. Cheers,

to health and madness, L.

I’ll admit I’ve been drinking

a lot lately, so much that any cup

warrants my son to ask,

is that alco-hole. In France,

preschoolers play in chalk

boxes spaced more than

six-feet apart. My son

would never keep

such distance. At bedtime,

he asked I read, My Schoolday,

a torn, hand-me-down board book,

we haven’t touched in years,

with flimsy cardboard

clock-hands he can move

with his own: 7 AM wake-up,

8 breakfast, 9 school bus, then

the rest of the day in a building

that’s not our house

with teachers and friends

he can only dream about

or wave at from a distance.

I’d rather read him fairytales

where children get lost in the woods

or fall down wells or end up inside

of ovens. I’d rather he have

stories, even the scary ones,

the certainty that they end.


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