Poem first published in We Don’t Break, We Burn: Poems of Resilience by Mindwell Poetry Press and edited by Zachary Kluckman

Quarantine swoops in like snowfall, sucking voices from air.
Forcing us to hide from each other, come together in isolation.

But you’re an introvert.
You like what it means to be alone to be dead to the world,
be shadow with no sun to hold your hand,
make you matter, make you appear,
to have others create you.

And isn’t that what you really mean?
That if nobody’s around to see me,
walk in their footsteps,
I somehow enjoy being cloudy day?
That life is better without someone to call friend?

What you don’t understand is I don’t value
small talk, don’t appreciate how
counterfeit conversation steals my energy,
robinhoodwinks me of lifeblood,
mails it to you the extrovert
as you roll your eyes at me when I show up anemic.

So explain to me again how I enjoy
missing my niece’s birthday, my aging grandma who raised me,
hugs.
Take your IV from my arm.
Let me know how it feels to not have a host
to be parasite to
and I’ll happily show you the healing bite marks on my back.