These are the days
Dry perfect blueness
It hurts to breathe

I write with shaky hands,
look for the keys
look out the window

Can’t lie in bed,
yesterday’s secrets
deny the stillness
of a sunlit room

I pretend to believe
in poetry and coffee,
honest words and false
resilience, bouncing,
bouncing, forward, back

I’ve forgotten about food
and sustenance, found
seven dimes under
the car seat, just enough
for three butter cookies,
the ones that hurt
your back teeth

My movements
feel disordered

of the heart,
induced by
isolation, chaos,
the world
as we know it

Found another
three dimes
and a quarter,
enough for coffee
light and sweet

I lied again
I believe in coffee
if not the truth

Butter cookies
hurt my teeth
like breathing
perfect blueness

Lie down
on silent sheets
Nobody knows

Ropes dangle
past windows
Baritone voices,
drills, hammers,
break blue

Butter cookies
hurt my teeth

I still believe
in coffee.

Puma Perl is an award-winning poet, writer, and journalist, and has five solo collections in print. The most recent is Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books, 2019.) She is the producer and creator of The Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll, and she performs regularly with her band, Puma Perl and Friends. Read other articles by Puma.