Eating in Isolation

by Nancy Susanna Breen


I’ve risked drive-through from the start,
partly because I’m a horrible cook
(bad food tastes even worse
in lockdown), partly because
I depend on the human contact.
The fries and chicken fingers help,
but what saves me is sharing
recognition and greetings
with the masked figures
handling meals from the windows.
We know each other on sight,
ask “How are you?”
although there’s no time
for conversation. For days
I often see and speak to
no one else. Their smiling eyes
reassure me the world
didn’t disappear
and leave me here alone.



Nancy Susanna Breen has published three chapbooks of poems, the most recent being Burying the Alleluia (2019, Finishing Line Press). Her latest, Shutting My Father’s Mouth, won the 2020 Morris Memorial Chapbook Competition and will be published by New Dawn Unlimited. She isolates in Loveland, Ohio. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.