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"Week One": A Poem by Jennifer Battisti

On the first day, I massaged someone from Munich, then London, then a guy who’d spent two weeks off the grid in Montana — he said he felt like he woke up inside a video game — a woman with open wounds and conspiracy theories from Philly, and my regular, a high roller from Miami. I put oregano oil under my tongue, sage in my bra. On the second day, I got laid off from work and dreamt of pounding my fist on the pump of a Purrell bottle. Each squirt produced a new news update that I feverishly rubbed between my palms. On the third day I was in denial. I drank four frosty bottles of top-shelf cream soda. When Amazon ran out of delivery windows, I shrugged, then chugged vanilla bubbles. On the forth day I waved at my mother from inside my car. She waved back from inside her garage. We smiled awkwardly, two nervous gloves with latex grins. On the fifth day I became my child’s school teacher — she told me tricks are no longer allowed in math. We went outside. I sat my daughter in a field of clovers and said this is a silver lining. She asked me if worms could get the virus and confessed she was thinking now would be a good time to try out her middle finger. We were so far away from anyone I told her to go ahead, shoot the bird, go nuts. On the sixth day we went to Trader Joe’s. The shelves were nearly barren — one crumbly avocado, ritzy olives for entertaining, daffodils, $1.49/bunch. The planter guide read: suitable for planting between shrubs, on a border, or for forcing blooms indoors. I bought the daffodils. 


Jennifer Battisti’s work has been anthologized in Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, Where We Live, and other volumes. Her worked has also appeared in Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, The Citron Review, Helen: A Literary Magazine, The Red Rock Review and elsewhere. Her first chapbook, Echo Bay, was released in 2018 by Tolsun Books.

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