Quarantine, mon amour by John Jack Jackie (Edward) Cooper


I look everywhere for solace but find none. The past seems more oppressive even than the present where I wallow speechless. Spring has finally come: the air is cheering and sunlit. Below, outside, from my window, I can see the people passing in lighter clothes, coats open, unbundled but for the white hospital masks they now wear reflexively—seemingly unmindful of the aberration, this mark of an enduring cold. And yet to all I observe remains an indifference which is mine to share: the leaves unfolding, the inert and cloudless blue above, the shadows that grace every particular of life, from still to the still determinedly mobile. One more death has been added to the abundance around me already, around the world—and how can one say therefore that my loneliness is exaggerated or my despair. That death lives, it lives in my heart, where love, too, coincides. She will not leave, though she bids me not speak. Be silent and wait, my heart whispers, in a tone that lightly touches its walls and can neither reach nor break on the air outside.


At midnight the streets are empty, the avenue void of passersby who might ordinarily have materialized and trailed off visibly. No single cars cross. Night is silent, though the moon, gibbous, swells, seemingly wanting to speak. The world no longer lives: shut in, querulous, it turns on itself, inward, where journey neither begins nor ends. All relies on abstraction, finally, and withdrawal. Little in past—that is, to now—seems point toward anything; relevant present, minus future, leaves none.


The nights are so quiet I can open my window to the spring air and not be overwhelmed by the traffic and sirens and boisterous revelers who usually afflict the dark with bumptious, vociferous cries, their self-proclaiming, self-congratulatory assurances clamoring for unconscious affection. Instead, one solitary throat wretches and coughs, somewhere hidden from my view at this height, across the street, ensconced—if that is the right word—for the time being. Still, motorcycles rumble and the moon, full where I have not yet seen, draws all in sleep or continued waking in its trance: a wave induced over all that lives on.

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