Poem of the Week

My Twelve-Year-Old Daughter Tells Me She Feels Lonely in Quarantine

Shane McCrae

              The second day I thought would be

      Easier than the first,        of the days the plague

                        Did hide my childe away

      But on the second day she says what she

                        On the first day didn’t say

As she stuffs        her pajamas in the plastic bag

            In which we keepeth fast the death

      That settles on her clothing while she sleeps

                  Beside the bag for food

    Trash—   once, I held a napkin underneath

                    Her nose because I could-

n’t       tell if she was breathing, oh        the white sail leaps


                  And flutters in the living wind

            And now I am afraid to let her leave

                            Her room.        It leaps, the white

            Sail, flutters        gently down, that then is pinned

                            In place by the wind. As quiet-

ly as I could,       I held it there, I didn’t breathe

Shane McCrae is the author of Sometimes I Never Suffered among other books. He has received a Lannan Literary Award, a Whiting Writer’s Award, and an NEA fellowship. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in New York City.
Originally published:
June 22, 2022

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