Your gig is cancelled

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

            these spines

                        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.

 

Unsterilised &

uncouth.


Author:

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.

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