17-21 Days* in a Pandemic

by Sherre Vernon

and barbiturates still come up
in your bloodwork. The same time it takes
for arugula to break through the soil. Pea
shoots, radishes, green onion, too. The span 
of December break at a public school. Reasonable notice
for a shitty job. How long you wait for the bleeding
to start before you panic. From introduction of new
kitten, seen through a glass door by the old tom, to cat-
home in the rocker. Waiting for the referral
to the specialist. Enough time for your body to forget
its fitness and let Netfilx in. A California winter. First-class
shipping at the holidays, and most always, now. A body’s timeline
for antibodies following vaccination. Delirium allowed
after surgery, light duty-only. Self-help’s magic number
for forming a new habit. From (solid) interview to (finally)
job offer, generally and if you are lucky. Presidential
signature to stimulus check in your account. Neither
a week nor a fortnight, not overly poetic. A Prince song
and a Horror film. Long enough for a revolution,
in Egypt. Resolving an election in the US takes longer
than this now. It can take this long for milk to come
in (mine took longer). This is how long you can survive
on mushrooms and dam water, if you have to. By now
you should toss out the produce from the fridge

*For those who die from COVID 10, it takes, on average, 17 to 21 days from infection to death.

Sherre Vernon (she/her/hers) is the author two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (fiction) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Her work has nominated for Best of the Net and anthologized in several collections, including Bending Genres, Fat & Queer and Best Small Fictions. In 2019, Sherre was a Parent-Writer Fellow at MVICW. Readers describe her writing as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent. Tag her into conversation @sherrevernon. 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.