Written Story by F.I. Goldhaber

Alone, Now and Forever 

More than twelve hundred days — but who’s counting —

trapped in my home (still, at least I have one) 

by privileged selfishness, corporate  

greed, government neglect. I dare not roam 

amongst the infected who will cough in  

faces and spit at those whose masks remind 

them that they place a higher value on  

entertainment and paltry pleasures than  

on the lives of me and others who are  

immunocompromised, disabled, old, 

poor. They never tested vaccines on us.  

No matter, the jabs stop working after  

two to six months. Or when new variants 

mutate from oligarchic policies  

creating cauldrons perfect for brewing  

more lethal forms of SARS and other types 

of respiratory infections, as 

well as poxes, fungi, bacteria 

that’s resistant to antibiotics. 

Four shots from three different companies

but I still can’t risk exposure. Not a  

matter of if. Just how long until death  

comes, how painful the organ destruction, 

traumatic the stroke, devastating the 

brain fog, debilitating the fatigue. 

The media speak in past tense of a 

virus that still kills hundreds every  

day and disables thousands by the week. 

Forty months since I ate at restaurants.  

Or went to the senior center where I  

once took fitness classes, used weight machines.

To the barber for a competent cut. 

Since I spent an evening with friends or  

attended concerts, plays, or poetry 

readings; Pride and other festivities. 

I even stopped pushing events on my  

calendar off until next year when there  

might be less peril. Because safer will 

never come for me I just delete them.