Under the Couch




By the end of March, I’d already set up a sewing station in my kitchen where I made dozens and dozens of festive cloth masks for all seasons: pumpkins and witches, Pilgrims and turkeys, Santa, snow men and penguins as well as  agnostic nature scenes, until I jammed the bobbin beyond my skill set and learned that Mr. Altomarie’s Sew & Vac Shop was closed, and that was the end of that project.  Every relative  received a mask whether they requested one or not.  When the sewing machine broke, I cleaned up my sewing center and hid back under the couch.  From there I still listened to the nightly presidential pandemic briefings. While Donald yelled and lied, I watched natural disasters on YouTube.  As he promised that the virus was getting better, I watched the 2004 tsunami hit Taiwan over and over.  Donald promised that the warm weather would eliminate the virus; I watched the town of Paradise burn. He promised this Chinese virus was just like the flu and I watched Mt. St Helens erupt.       


By April, just about the time that Dr. Donald started hawking hydroxychloroquine, Clorox injections, internal medical light sabers and other presidential snake oils, my soul took up permanent residence under the couch.  My soul became the doll at Edward Gorey’s house that lies face down on the stairs. All of this happened at about the same time that Dr. Birx’ soul dissipated into air.   


At night, I dreamed of Jane Goodall’s chimps.  Frodo contracted polio during that epidemic and was crippled for life.  Many other chimps died.  I bolted awake.  


One day, through sheets of rain, I noticed a nest in the fir tree outside. For the next month, I watch the robins – Chip and Joanna – construct the  HGTV nest.  Joanna slapped the mud walls with her ample butt and feathered tail.  They both worked on it. I dug out my father-in-law’s binoculars and watched every day.  I was taught that humans learned to sew by observing birds.    Chip and Joanna stitched a long pink yarn into the nest. Girl birds?


My son brought groceries one day.  He was hunched over a package.  “It’s chicken.  I didn’t want your friends to see,” he indicated the nest, “It just seems disrespectful.” 






Selected Writings:




Thoughts of a Dying Woman


Under the Couch