This poem corresponds to a moment where I realized that I was sweating crimson when working and wearing a naturally dyed turmeric shirt. We were a month or so into the pandemic and the metaphors and symbols were too good not to acknowledge. It was just after I had taken the first drive out of Dover-Foxcroft and had been noticing multiple playgrounds with caution tape, many electronic school and business signs encouraging people to be kind, read, that we are all in this together. Although I felt surreal, looking back on that beginning time, it felt like there was more togetherness and unification than there was disparate, political divide like there is currently (September 2020).
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W O R K I N G I R L. Naturally dyed turmeric shirt bleeds and blends crimson when mixed with the salt of sweat. I can't help but delight. How absurd! The playground on outer Bangor is wrapped in caution tape. Face masks hang from mirrors like fuzzy dice. How very absurd. Surrendering to this reality. Surreal. I deeply sigh at myself as I wonder how long the kettle has actually been boiling. How long have I been sitting without really breathing? Did I remember the gloves and Lysol? Am I standing six feet apart? I marvel at the light dancing on the Piscataquis River. I continue to collect treasures washed up on the banks. Seeking solace. But am I remembering we're in a pandemic? Am I integrating it all? I do and I am. Pit stains for souvenirs of my movement in life. Holding that lightly, experimenting, playing. Sweating and noticing. Advocating and pushing the fabric of the universe around until Community comes home and says Damn babe you really spruced it up nice in here. Community sets it's luggage down and flops onto the couch and says I think we can ALL finally breathe. Welcome Home.
Merrilee, “Working Girl,” Heart of Maine Community Stories, accessed February 26, 2024, https://heartofmaine.omeka.net/items/show/91.