My quarantine

Jennifer Kempf, Special to The Oak Leaf

I remember

for a long, long time

I was locked away

while everyone else played

and danced.


Curled in fetal position

crying fat ugly tears

as my best years blew away like

dandelion spores

in the wind.


It’s not fair

was my mantra.


I too

rationed food

though staying in bed

I got quite heavy.


To the grocery store only,

I did not meet eyes or smile.

Every person might as well have had the plague.


It’s funny

I—it took a while but I

eventually crawled out of my cave to

greet the light.


When I did

I looked around and saw

so much time had passed.

I was Rip Van fucking Winkle indeed

waking up to a whole new me.


And did I mention or not

that all those I loved

dropped dead on me one by one

till there were none

while everybody else bathed

in romance, laughed and

drank wine?





I was told the news of mandatory


gas-masks and rabid hand-washing

to rid ourselves of

this “global pandemic.”


(Or is it bio warfare


are we guinea pigs in

some kind of test run?

Guess “Don’t believe everything you hear or read”

does not apply to instances such as this?)


Everybody wave hello to Rod Serling!

Because we are in the Twilight Zone now.



maybe not.

Conspiracies (and the rebellious teenager in me) aside…


I rather kind of hate to admit

and trust me, the guilt is not lost on me

as I listen to news on the radio of

hoards of people

frantic for lima beans to feed their kids,

that here am I

eating grapes at my kitchen table and

watching the clouds drift above my garden

like a caravan of angels out the window.


I love my quarantine life.


I do what I want.

No one to tell me

be here, do this, do that.



How I make more money on unemployment

than I ever did breaking my back

at my dead-end job? It’s

not right.


Or maybe it’s alright.

I love that I can

stroll and

redecorate my bedroom.

Finally watch Top Gun,

finally read 1984

and twiddle my thumbs.


No, this does not diminish my need for

purposeful work

nor meaningful connections

with other souls,



just today

I connected with God.


His grace rested on the red wing of a blackbird

in a field of swaying high grass

and wildflowers,

so I wrote a poem.