by Pete Mackey

Pandemic guilt, the joy I take in you
and your constant presence, bound with me with nowhere
else to go or wherever else we go 
together to appear unknown, masked and made half 
ourselves. I have seen how the shine of the frost
turns everything bright and hard as a virus, the squirrel
nest is a dollop rocking with the windy pitch
of a tree, and how you, when you laugh, light up a room
whenever I am smart enough to notice, while bodies 
aside in halls and streets are kept cold enough 
not to rot until the dead make room. 
To die now is to die alone. To be among others
now is to risk dying. But we are more than 
surviving; we are thriving if you can call it that 
when talking of it is callous and dumb. Hide
your lips. Let your glasses fog. You are not alone. 

Pete Mackey’s poetry has appeared in a variety of journals, including Connotation Press, Innisfree Poetry Journal, SweetLit, and others. Shara McCallum and Harold Schweizer are his poetry mentors, and while earning his doctorate in British literature he studied under James Dickey. He has published numerous essays and articles, and is the author of Chaos Physics and James Joyce’s Everyman. Having served as head of communications at institutions in the U.S. and Ireland, he now runs a communications consulting business, Mackey Strategies, that serves dozens of colleges, universities, and nonprofit foundations. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

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