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Long Haul Year Two

By Rachel Baum

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

Another physicians assistant laptop The doctor is MIA because you Are not (ever) sick enough Pull tight around you your 65 year old White woman hospital gown of invisibility

Recite the wasted time fillers Weight height blood pressure pulse Review your meds are you safe at home? Then do nothing there is nothing to do You are nothing you and your Unknowable phantom illness

Cancel the skeptical air the bored ceiling Void the defensive dismissive clinic Take this fusion of ache and bone This corroded pipeline of fatigue Leaking shards of electrical filament

Form elusive words that clamor and scream Without sound from outside the elevator That everyone uses and the only one to climb Down the indifferent cellar stairs Is you.


Rachel R. Baum is a professional dog trainer, former librarian, kayak angler, and Covid Long Hauler. She writes the blog BARK! Confessions of a Dog Trainer and is the editor of Funeral and Memorial Service Readings Poems and Tributes (McFarland, 1999). Her poetry has appeared in Wingless Dreamer, Poetica Review, New England Monthly Poetry Digest, and others.


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