The Routine I Live By

by Margaret Blackstock

I wake, then settle into snooze.
Soft black slippers greet my feet.

I creak out of bed, curse the cold,
put on an old sweatshirt, then go

straight to the kitchen to make coffee
and check my phone.

I open the curtains and gaze
at the new sky, a dazzling bloom.  

I pray, check the news, take a vitamin.
And it always starts this way.

Until the evening, there’s a sequence
I follow. I need the certainty,

inside these walls. Outside,
there may be chaos and change–

Fresh riots, new viral strains.
But here, I walk the lines of an ordered clock

Like a human minute hand
counting down my life, tick tock,

hour by hour and day by day,
lockdown life passes, over and over, this way.

Margaret Blackstock is an advertising and marketing writer living in San Francisco, CA. She works on her poetry, reads everything from mysteries to social history, and watches a little too much TikTok in her pandemic spare time. Varada J.M is a 9th-grader based in Kerala’s Koyilandi, studying at Rani Public School, Vadakara. After hurriedly doing homework, Varada divides her time between practicing classical dance and watching horror films. She loves dogs but nobody at home wants one.