Friday, 30 October 2020


by Melanie Zipin

it’s been much more than 40 days
of waiting – holding our breath
the shoreline
drifting farther
more than 40 nights
of hugging – some too tightly
others, not at all 

capsized boats
in an angry sea

in numerology
the number 40 is a square
follow the lines
not like a circle
corner to corner
but rules change
and you are stuck
in the corner
you learn your lesson
if you ever do

so many Rules
wash your hands
don’t touch your face
or anyone else’s

Quarantini is a drink
because we need one
to make something
out of – it

so we don’t forget
how to breathe
but for now –

hold your breath

zoom – no thank you
they say – it’s for the best
better than nothing

don’t walk into the apocalypse
don’t stay locked up forever

is it a global game of hide and seek
come out, come out –
wherever you are

another day on pause…
            for joy
            for appreciating what you have
            what you miss
            what you love
            what you hold dear
            what you will fight for

I never cooked
until the pandemic
I’m getting good
well, I’m getting better

before replying
before repeating

you know
what you don’t

becomes vital

simple and complex
play tag

all the while
is all we have

and I hear the call
and answer –
all aboard
or was it

feels like
but the shore
feels like

which way to go
feast or famine
yes or no
all or nothing

I don’t believe
any of that

I hold you close
we lay on the edges
winking at stars

Virus Fatigue
I’d rather die!
But you wouldn’t
You are being dramatic
Because you had it so good
But you didn’t know it
And now –
You do
So try to appreciate
What you have
Before –
It is

I will mask my face
But not my heart
glove my hands
but not my touch
cover my mouth
but not my kiss
stay my body
but not my soul

open my heart
leave it raw
feel everything
from afar

* * * * *

Author's note: A writer/friend who was putting together a piece for our local arts and leisure paper, Desert Exposure, asked myself and other writers if we were interested in contributing one 40-word poem about quarantine, the structure – based on the etymology of the word. 

At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of confining concept to structure, but then, I felt intrigued –and shortly after, compelled; especially because the word itself implies confinement. I accidently wrote nine 40-word poems. I submitted one and told my cohorts at Virus Theater about the project. They thought it would be a good undertaking for Virus Theater’s Patreon launch. It was decided to video the poems and present them to the public as the first offering. Here is a direct link to the video result:

About the author: Finding beauty, even solace, in the everyday, multi-media artist, Melanie Zipin, composes her musings from the material that surrounds her. Taking an early departure from her inner-city roots, the high deserts of New Mexico provide ample opportunity for such an introspective watcher. Her writings are an amalgamation of joy and sorrow, reflecting on the commonality of our individual contrast.

Zipin has one son and lives with her husband, far from the concrete, thankful for the rainwater that sustains them, in a house they built from hand-piled mud, where she makes art and music, and writes and writes and writes.

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