Charles Grosel

The Pandemic Pales

The temporary exhilaration 
of things upended, rules
suspended, the longest 
snow day ever. Not that 
we don’t have responsibilities,
exactly, but they’re different,
heroic. Even the little things—
cleaning the bathroom,
bringing in the mail, 
picking up groceries 
in a parking lot—
require a kind of courage.

But all too soon 
the pandemic pales, 
grows tedious and routine, 
the return to normal 
now the rebellion. 
No more shutdowns, 
we shout, we must have 
our haircuts and essential 
services, the bars 
and restaurants, the gyms 
we never go to anyway. 
What kind of wuss are you, 
afraid of something 
you can’t even see? 

I swear 
it will be 
the boredom 
that kills us.

Charles Grosel is an editor, writer, and poet living in Arizona. He has published stories in Western Humanities Review, Fiction Southeast, Water-Stone, and The MacGuffin and poems in Slate, The Threepenny Review, Poet Lore, Cream City Review, and Harpur Palate, among others. The Sound of Rain Without Water, a chapbook of poems, came out in December 2020.