• #36 - Caki Wilkinson

    Caki Wilkinson


    Handwashing Song

    I’ve got a ticket
        and a roll of quarters
      and I’ll meet you
          at the metaphor
    we were way out in
        the thick of once
            when the world
      got sick and broke
          for lunch
            and lunch
    became a couple
        solitary months
      where people washed
          their hands so much
    they needed music
        as accompaniment.

      My dreams were trains
          and change machines
    and doorbell chimes
          and faces
            not in screens,
        but in that spell
            of distancing
    I waved my clean hands,
            making semaphores
      for the closer ways
              we’d lived before.
    I tuned the present
            to a future key
        and sang its sickness
              as the past,
    a dreadful thing
          we stupored through
                  one spring—
        and not the song of stuporing.

    In lieu of payment, our friends and contributors to the Corona Correspondences are dedicating donations to nonprofits and independent businesses in their communities. Wilkinson’s contribution will be directed to Mid-South Foodbank in Memphis.

    Caki Wilkinson is the author of the poetry collections Circles Where the Head Should Be (2011) and The Wynona Stone Poems (2015).  New poems have appeared in or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, the Nation, the Yale Review, and Kenyon Review. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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