Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.
Today, in my sleep, I went back to yesterday, and felt a little relief for tomorrow.
From my worn mattress and the heavy load
in the flaps of my overloaded BMI screaming for a life renewed.
Today, in my sleep, I escaped back to yesterday
Before the quarantine grind.
I went back and told myself that I was living in an unknown paradise.
There was a storm, but I could breathe easily without a mask.
There was a fall, but I could hug and hold the injured hand.
There was a circumstance that required not a bit of sanitizer.
There was a school with students hiding phones under their desks.
There, electronics were the constant battle
And when I said, “zoom,”
it meant to hurry to the bathroom and back,
not a series of technical difficulties followed by thirty emails full of “my internet.”
There was a town hall where people could see the color of one another’s eyes
and make decisions that considered everyone.
There was a church meeting held in the chapel down the street instead of in the Bible on the couch.
There was a run to the store at midnight for the project poster,
and, believe it or not, the doors were open and the lights were on.
There was that longest line at the DMV where people crowded the entire room
and someone coughed and no one noticed.
There was a last minute meet-up with a friend
for two cups of something while laughing at the same table and sharing just a taste.
We could pick up our own straws, and not worry if our skin accidentally touched the plastic.
There was a run for pizza without a dousing of Purel on the drive home
before reaching in the bag for a breadstick.
There was a thing unknown in today’s new normal called
baking and cooking for neighbors just to say I care.
There were visitors crowding the halls and living spaces
of the elderlies’ homes to show solidarity
instead of the touching of hands through glass windows. And no use of doors.
There were sports on the fields and courts
while also running on the bedroom TV while the husband ignored the kids.
There were dog-walkers who dared to chit about the weather
on the same stretch of sidewalk
while their animals sniffed one another’s butts.
There was empty space in the fridge full of possibility
Instead of mediocre produce
bought only every other week or in as few trips as possible.
And on those trips, one could wander,
and they didn’t get a dirty eye-stare when
Accidentally venturing down the one-way aisle in the wrong direction.</p>
And they didn’t have to imagine the look of the scolding at the mouth,
because it wasn’t covered.
When there was a smile,
It wasn’t accompanied by an oral declaration of, “I just smiled at you.”
At the bank counter there were suckers and dog biscuits,
not plexiglass or a “drive-thru only” service sign.
There were students hiding phones under their desks.
There, electronics were in constant battle with learning
Instead of the only means for learning.
No one was muted
And when the teacher said, “zoom”
She meant hurry back from the bathroom,
Not show me your pajamas
And email me excuses.
There were teachers at classroom doors
with hands outstretched for a five, a ten, a special handshake,
and sometimes even a hug.
There were busy restaurants where no one wore gloves.
There were gyms and pools
and bars and cars
packed to capacity with complete strangers.
There was an old lady at Target
writing a check on an ancient and sterile book
and a man behind her
with an equally sterile wad of bills
followed by millennial
Who, unlike me,
always knows just when to swipe or insert.
There were stadiums full of tearful parents
and so many simultaneous parties for hopping.
Caps and gowns were waiting to be shed
instead of just photographed.
The caps could be hurled and exchanged
without a worry at all by either the findersor the keepers.
There was international travel
To wherever you wanted to go
and many hotels without vacancies.
“No room in the inn” meant
hoards of people were paying a pilgrimage
not makeshift tents as a place for people to die
at an otherwise verboten and patrolled Central Park.
Those annoying celebrities
used to embrace and compare designer clothes
instead of chanting, “we’re all in this together”
From their annoying vacation homes
Transformed into makeshift studios.
And seriously, who picked out that horrible wallpaper?
Even us poor people wouldn’t have that wallpaper.
Sorry, you’re not more relatable.
There, doctor friends were in the Bahamas three times a year
Instead of selling off their VRBO’s
And taking skipped mortgage payments on their mansions.
Temple worship was the sharing of holy water before its possible contamination.
There. A hot flash didn’t require a thermometer
And a walk on the beach didn’t require 6 feet.
There was my sister who was always playing taxi
instead of complaining about not being allowed across the Idaho border
to go out to eat
because literally everything is closed in Washington
And those potato farmers don’t want her bacteria
Yesterday, quarantine was something for sci-fi novels and The Pentagon,
not a daily reality.
Social distancing was something only introverts did
And it was called being a couch potato
Or “netflix and chill.”
It never lasted more than a few days
Unless it was Spring or Winter Break
Or you were a thirty-something living in your dad’s basement
Because people were actually required to go to work.
.Corona that was a beer
and COVID sounded like something that maybe two people did on YouYube
instead of the excuse I use to justify my kids are watching YouTube
all day every day.
Back then, whenever it was,
Or five years ago
The unemployment rate was the best it had ever been,
and China was the place where we got cheap goods
instead of conspiring germs or gauged medical supplies.
Today is tomorrow’s yesterday.
And today is the first today ever
that I want yesterday instead of tomorrow.