Echo Presents: “Oh, Neighbor–A Poem from Quarantine”

Ai Weiwei art c. New York Times

by Nina Schwelm

Oh, how it feels so strange to be stuck at home! Even though I never left the house anyways,
Now I am stuck. Tied down, caged in!
Now that it’s mandatory, I feel the sudden urge To get out. To go somewhere.

This hermit wants to be free But can’t. I have all this time on my hands. Something that I’ve always longed for. But what shall I do with it?

While I waste time thinking about how I’m going to spend it
I’m finding that my mind does drift To my very handsome neighbor.

How strange! He was never handsome before. How strange! He has never clouded my mind before.

A pandemic of emotion. A new and unknown virus,
Joined by new and unknown feelings.

How do I cure this!
Am I just stirred by the fact That he is always so near now?

That has to be it, For he’s never bothered me this much
Since we met in middle school.

Oh, Neighbor! Are you thinking of me, too? Probably not, But how I wish that were true.

Oh, Neighbor! Why do you always stay inside? Let’s walk our dogs together,
Six feet apart if you don’t mind.

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