One year into the long tail of this virus
I find things I do not recognize,
veins bulging that once lay flat, flacid pouches
where muscle lived and flexed, fine lines
and crepe-draped skin puckering
above the vee of my shirt. I have plucked
stray white hairs from my temples,
dabbed flesh-toned cream on the dark
hollows beneath my eyes, been awakened
each night by hot pain gripping
my arms, shoulders, head.
I am learning to find solace
in the wearing of my flesh,
in the pulsing reminders of this hard
fought year, each one a mark
proclaiming that I am still here.
Ann E. Wallace, a poet and essayist from Jersey City, New Jersey, is author of the poetry collection Counting by Sevens (Main Street Rag). She has published work in Huffington Post, Wordgathering, Halfway Down the Stairs, Snapdragon and many other journals. She is online at AnnWallacePhD.com and on Twitter @annwlace409.