By Andy Lopez
because the boomers are all paralyzed neck-down,
stunned beneath the heel of another recession,
because no self-respecting millennial wants to be caught
dead in a rundown hotel called Elenita’s Touch,
or whatsit called—musty gunk-smelling something like your lola’s
old scarf—the lead singer of The Brouhahas stays at home, Googling
easy creamy hummus recipes
instead of jobs.
When they told us to be quiet,
I didn’t think we’d accommodate this silence
so easily. For weeks, the music stranded. Once
an uncouth, rollicking guitar, choking
on a cough. sorry, bad joke—
but you know the drill. We Asians
don’t need a test run. Watch us contort
into impossible parentheses
for world healing.
In a week we’ll have forgotten our own tongues.
My father sings
in question marks.
My mother—god bless her—has taken to quarantine
like a fish in a new tank. An erratic soap sud maelstrom
intimidating stains into submission. She scrubs
anywhere dust can settle, elbow-deep in bleach,
reverent-white like your Sunday’s best
dress. Like if she wants it enough
she can bolster the lipid bilayer & nothing can ever
storm our house ever again.
The doorknob gleams when I peer into it.
My reflection attempts comedy. No punchline
but this, baby: the task of muscle memory
is to protect what is left.
What’s love got to do with it—? Across the table,
I catch my father mid-chorus & share a grin.
Andy Lopez (she/her) is a writer and advocacy communications manager from the Philippines. Her work has been published in CHEAP POP, Ascend Magazine, and other magazines and anthologies. Find her on Twitter at @andylopezwrites.
This poem is a part of the DISTANCED project.