By silas denver melvin

when my mom says 30 patients are covid positive,

i reply with “i can’t die yet. my haircut is new & stupid.

how embarrassing.”

guess i learned to be fatalistic from her.

the last joke i ever said to my grandmother was along the lines of

“if you live to see it”   & you already know she didn’t,

because i’m writing about it here.

no one in my family believes in god.

my mom wants to be buried in pajamas.

my dad, whichever way we lay him,             says by then, it won’t matter much because he won’t

be able to tell the difference anyway.

it’s funny & not. shakespeare punchline. the delicious juxtaposition of tragedy & comedy.

it’s frightening, but we remain unsurprised.

what good does the panic do to you when it   does not change the outcome?             live wire +

stagnant water = floating face down

all the same.

my bones purr with uncertainty, but the engine

never turns over.

i tell myself no one is above dying, but the news articles

are kerosene on the nerves.

my mouth is an electric socket

and i can’t keep my fingers out.


silas denver melvin (he/him) is a trans masculine poet from southern NH. He is published in Sunday Morning at The River’s first poetry anthology and Toyon Literary Magazine’s 66th Volume. He attended the 2017 writing conference at Breadloaf Campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, Vermont for his poetry. More of his work can be found on Instagram @sweatermuppet.

This piece is a part of DISTANCED 2.0.

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