“How to Date During a Pandemic” by Rayon Lennon

Rayon Lennon


Meet at a rapid
Result testing
Site. Wait for the verdict
In separate moaning
Cars in a blooming
Parking lot while smoothing
Out each other’s anxiety
Over the phone. If you’re both
Positive, hug her like she is
Your wife. If you are
Positive, and she’s not,
Cry and tell her
Not to worry. You have a super
Immune system even
Though diabetes loves
Your family. If you’re both
Negative, grin and hop out
Of the car. Don’t tear
Away your mask. You haven’t
Graced a barbershop
In months and your beard
Looks like an unruly
Jamaican hill. When she drags
Her mask off, you notice
She sports a hint
Of whisker. Her smile doesn’t
Shine like her bruised gold
Chain. You note her
Beyoncé figure. She’s rocking
A blinding red sun
Dress though it’s not sunny
Yet. Tell her red is
Your color. Instead of flowers,
Give her a bottle of hand
Sanitizer you made from
The gallon you have
At home. Drive
In separate
Cars to a seedy
Beach boardwalk.
Walk with the sun
As it dies on foul
Water. If she’s a nurse,
Don’t bring up
Death or your mom
In Canada who’s a nurse
And gets tested twice
A day. You know nurses
In Connecticut don’t
Get tested once
A month. Say something
Romantic, like, “Look
At those ducks on the water.
I’ve been coming here
For years and I’ve never
Seen them without each other.”
She will say, “That’s what
I’m dying for.” Say, “Me too.”
Watch the sky fail
To hang on to its colors.
She’ll ask you if you live
Alone and you’ll say yes
Even though you have
A 400-pound roommate who
Doesn’t leave his room
And seems to only want
To use the restroom when
You’re in it darkening
Your beard. Everything
She says now boils down
To whether you will come over
Or whether she can come
Over. It’s clear she hasn’t
Had sex in forever.
She tells you she hasn’t
Had sex in forever
While sliding her
Fist down her hip. It turns you
On but you remember
Someone saying the test
Is 85 percent accurate.
Birds sing or cry.
She takes your hand
As you move out on
A pier. You want to run.
You do not run. The water
Punches the shore.
She says life is even shorter
Now and we need
To do whatever we want
To do before the world
Crashes. She laughs
A laugh with fear
And the thrill of fear in it.
She says she’s not warm,
And puts her tropical arms
Around you. Also, she peels
Off your mask and puts
Her lips on you. You come
Alive, like someone’s
Blessing you
With CPR. Give in,
To something
More than death.

from Poets Respond
July 9, 2020


Rayon Lennon: “Coronavirus continues to destroy relationships, and make it nearly impossible to date this summer.” (web)

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