You are retired and have not caught the virus.
You stay home in isolation with your spouse.
You wake up, look at the clock, debating—
to get up, sleep late, or take a chance
and go to Trader Joe’s.

You wonder if you have been magically upgrade
to be living the leisure life of the one percent,
or the one percent has been forced to downgrade
to the way of the underprivileged — no social contact,
no fancy food, no shimmy new clothing, and no air travel.

People say the coronavirus is an equalizer,
so is being clammed shut for the retired.
Everyone is given the same twenty-four hours,
obeys the same rules,
free to decide how to spend the day.

But if you do not have a plan,
then when the world skittles back
you will still be drifting like a torn plastic bag
allowing the current to carry you where it pleases.
You’ll be at sea, unable to navigate your life again.

I grew up in Hong Kong, came to America for college and stayed. I have lived in Princeton for 55 years. My poems have appeared in US 1 Newspaper, Kelsey Review, Princeton Arts Review, US 1 Worksheet, The Literary Review, Paterson Literary Review, and Princeton Magazine. My children’s stories have appeared in Cricket Magazine and Fire and Wings.

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