beaks on

we strap beaks around our ears

breathe in herbs like potpourri

the air isn’t safe without it

and I haven’t seen your bare cheeks

in months, in weeks

your eyes glitter from behind plastic lenses

meant to keep you safe from me

me, who you once said was your only PPE

talk to me through a screen

—window or Windows

there’s little difference, I suppose—

and I’ll tell you about the young woman

who hung herself in the garage, 

electrical cord around her neck

I’ll tell you about the lady in respiratory arrest

how the chunk of meat she coughed up

was the size of my palm

I’ll tell you about how he grabbed me by the hips

without permission, grabbing like he owned me,

this man you are fortunate to have not met

and that I wrote an incident report for the records

I’ll tell you about how my grandmother is sick

but asymptomatic, which is why I don’t feel

like answering you today, I’m sorry

but I went to the Secretary of State

almost called to see if you wanted coffee

I’d meet you on Stadium or W Main like last week

make you listen to Artemis 

(because you haven’t yet for some reason)

and we could pick up where we left off

(chapter two, if I believe you)

but perhaps I am being too hopeful

meet me with your beak on

I’ll say it was meant to be broken

do you remember when we were young

and plague doctors only lived in pictures?

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