Pandemic Poem #18 / They Don’t Exist

This is from a prompt in The Dirty Thirty Challenge which asked us to write a poem to our partner explaining how we could go about intimacy in a time of self-isolation. It made me angry.

They Don’t Exist (A Letter To My Lover from Lockdown)
They don’t exist
In this universe or the other
There’s no such person as my lover
And nothing you utter
Nothing you imagine and then spin into pretty words
No poem you can serve
Compares to the mouthfuls of sand
I’ve been eating these past two and a half years
I’ve swallowed the Sahara desert
And pretended it’s pleasant
I’ve rolled in a dust storm and made my bed of it
I’ve learned to be one with the feeling of wanting
That sits in my skin
And cannot be scrubbed clean
I’ve become the Gobi desert
Now, tell me where it says I’m unworthy?
I’ve got too many children
I live too far away
I’m too fat
Too ugly
Too busy
I’ve got too much baggage
Too much contact with my ex
I put up too many boundaries
I’m too much like hard work
Too much like hiking into the Badlands
Armed with only a tiny brush
I can’t be sure there’s life in the fossil you find of me
You see, this letter to my partner
This new and exciting plan to replace physical intimacy
With platitudes and poetry
Implies a hope that I can enact those plans
On the very day they let us out again
But self-isolation is not a vacation
Away from my lover
Absence makes the heart grow colder
And crumble into dust
There’s no such thing as lust
When you’re made of tiny grains of sand
Just running softly through your hand
And into nothingness
Because they don’t exist
In this universe or the other.

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