by Scott Pomfret
During a plague
First thing you do when you get to a city is
Find the bars that are open all night.
Hands in Saran Wrap,
Scarf wrapped twice over your mouth,
Swim goggles over bloodshot eyes,
You try to see in the empty streets, nothing
But love. Absence is its evidence,
A great experiment in mutual regard.
But one tavern won’t take you
Because you’ve not been here
Long enough. Another objects
To the scarf over your face, prohibited for fear
Of a more immediate violence than plague.
You know the bars could secure
Some of what you need.
You wouldn’t have come if it weren’t critical.
You beg them to see your humility,
As if it were a cure. Your spouse
Is a physician, she can’t be sick, you guys
Need the money, and she, well, she needs the acclaim,
Which is one of a thousand things you can’t give her,
While the plague rages.
Scott Pomfret is author of Since My Last Confession: A Gay Catholic Memoir, Hot Sauce: A Novel, the Q Guide to Wine and Cocktails, and dozens of short stories published in, among other venues, Ecotone, Post Road, New Orleans Review, Fiction International, and Fourteen Hills. Scott writes from his tiny Boston apartment and even tinier Provincetown beach shack, which he shares with his partner of nineteen years. He is currently at work on a Know-Nothing novel set in antebellum New Orleans. Bill Mazza is a visual artist using chance, duration, and accumulation to reinterpret landscape as a relationship of people to their mediated environments, through painting, performance, and community-building collaborations.