The Long Goodbye and Solving for X in a Pandemic, 2 poems by Carlene M. Gadapee

Photo from behind of older couple sitting on bench in front of mountains
Photo by Matt Bennett on Unsplash
The Long Goodbye

The dishes undone, the laundry undone, the checkbook
balance impossible to follow or read. Then, the falls. So
many falls. It was dark, I caught my foot, I reached and lost
my balance. And the pills. So many pills, under the chair,
under the table, all looking alike, spilled and refilled
far too soon each month. And the money, oh, the money

pouring out the door on things you don’t need, people
who scam and overcharge for services you have no
need for. But we dance around the truth, making empty
promises or wide-ranging circumlocutions. The truth
is a stranger now. You are not going home.

The long goodbye starts with excuses. Not enough sleep,
not feeling well, general forgetfulness. Then, it’s more
excuses, disguised as lies: I showered yesterday, I wrote
the check, I ate that, I went. I did. I called. Then it’s
the redirection in conversation, avoiding the questions.
I didn’t hear you. You didn’t tell me.



Solving for X in a Pandemic

requires us to accept that x=unknown,
that x is irrational. That x cannot
be easily solved for, and x can cancel
you out. We know that x may mean ex,
as in extubation, but only if you survive.
Ex-lovers. Ex-friends. X in a pandemic
may mark the spot where you stood
when you were exposed. Extrapolate
the odds: how close were you? How long
were you nearby? Exactly who did you see
and did they test positive or negative?
Plot the X on your graph, and then
find the why.

Carlene Gadapee
Carlene M. Gadapee’s poems and poetry reviews have been published by or are forthcoming in Waterwheel Review, Smoky Quartz, Allium, Vox Populi, MicroLit Almanac, and elsewhere. She lives with her husband in northern New Hampshire.

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