Writer of the Quarantine: Anna Kinder 

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Anna Kinder is a former high school English teacher turned copywriter. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry, working on her first children's book, running absurdly long distances and hanging out with her three cats.

Echoes into the CO-VOID

Do you wake up in a cold sweat, too?
Can you hear anything over the hollow soundtrack
of every corporation in the nation
assuring us that they’re there for us?
That we’re all together, but alone?

What about all the people dying alone?
The loved ones with no closure?
No goodbyes or funerals.
Just gnawing grief that goes on and on
like a somber sentence with no period.

I try to find solace in bedside yoga and poached eggs,
but the days still end with crying over trivial things
like chocolate-covered espresso beans
that turned out to be raisins
or more serious sugar-coated lies.

I cobble together coping mechanisms,
arranging them from least to most self-destructive.
Stress baking followed by stress eating
followed by stress sprinting to Rage Against the Machine.
Do you feel rage against our machine, too?

For the cover-ups and shifting guidelines.
The false hope that dissolves on our tongues like bunk acid.
We wait for the colors to brighten
and the walls to breathe to remind us they’re alive,
but the head change never comes.

A “new normal” slips through my hands like sand,
but when it’s on the ground, it’s easier to bury my head in it.
Is it healthier to ache or to numb?
Will this mask protect or suffocate me?
How will it all end?


Breath by Breath, We Survive

Maybe if I perfect
my poached egg technique,
I could focus on the
whirlpool in the pot
instead of the
whirlwind of my thoughts.

Maybe if I run
until my legs throb
and my lungs heave,
I could grow so tired
I have no energy
left to be anxious.

Maybe if I feed
the sourdough starter
and water all the plants,
I could learn
how to better
nurture myself.

Maybe if I paint the walls
and rearrange the furniture,
I would be less
tempted to change
The way I feel
on the inside.

Maybe if I hold this
downward-facing dog
until the blood rushes to my head,
there won’t be any space
left for obsessing over
things I can’t control.

Maybe if I do the next right thing,
again and again,
if I choose to meditate
instead of self-medicate,
to breathe
instead of break,
this quiet rage would melt away
and make space for healing.

This is coping
in the time of COVID,
our solitary but
collective struggle.
Breath by breath,
we survive.
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Anna Kinder

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