I am officially cloistered

and forced to celebrate COVID-19's fifteenth week in existence


at home with a computer from work and not much direction,

home cleaning,

home avoiding our pets and my people as much as possible,

home wondering if Dollar General has any goods left and can I get them,

home learning how to bake again,

baking banana bread,

baking ciabatta,

baking loaves of white bread Dollar General may not have,

home baking a cake for the pandemic's fifteenth week on the world's radar.

Happy Quinceanera, Coronavirus.

You're nearly a woman now and we are in awe of all you've accomplished.

Here is a rosary and a bible,

to guide you as you grow.

I've highlighted several verses in Revelations for you.

Here, alone,

as much as I can be,

I find that I suddenly want to preserve myself in amber

for posterity.

And I do so.

One shot of bourbon at a time.



The caterpillars made perfect half circles of things

that I have dusted,

that I have cursed and killed,

that have welcomed our guests,

green things,

just things and nothing more,

a frame to our porch,

a dog,

a cat,

a scenario I've managed for years now.

We'll neuter the cat and keep the dog in and pluck this and that from the greenery until it's just right and trim and pretend that we are the masters of all that surround us.

I hang my baskets


separate enough

from nature,

just inside the windows,

away from nature

because I like the green,

but not too much green.

Plants already have the advantage here,

why the fuck would I give them more?

Don't trim the hedges?

For God's sake's, cut them all.

You and I lord it over and forget

that we are the bread and butter for so many things beneath us.

The waiting flora and fauna for our remains,

the streams framed in plastic,

the viruses,

all the fucking viruses,

the blood rivers,

the livestock chutes,

the hostages we've taken in earth and sky,

folding ourselves into paper tigers of superiority and nobility.

There are many, many things beneath us, we say.

Margaret Crocker works as an Employment Specialist in Southern Missouri. Her latest book of poetry is When I Was A Girl Like Me, published through Stubborn Mule Press. Her work has appeared in Windowpanes, through Green Bean Press, in the Gasconade Review, Trailer Park Quarterly and As It Ought To Be. Margaret also cohosts Sanesplaining with her husband Dan Crocker. Sanesplaining is a podcast about mental health issues, general literary interests and nerd stuff.