Why does life still feel like a wobbling Jenga game?
Pull out the wrong piece and it will all fall down.
Did I dare think we would spring back to Before COVID-19,
return to normal with a wave of a magic wand?
As if all the canceled and postponed wedding receptions, memorials, parties
stacked up like cars in a freeway traffic jam
would actually take place?

So many things not working, not the same.
Menus replaced by QR codes. I despise them.
My favorite Chinese restaurant, Little Shin Shin, shuttered;
the shoemaker who had been on Fruitvale
for decades closed. My hair stylist left the area.

Book a flight, but your reservation might get canceled,
because there aren’t enough pilots,
and you’ll be stuck on hold for three hours trying to re-book
with oh so friendly customer service somewhere overseas
whom you can barely understand because of the poor connection
while roosters crow in the background.
And if you do fly, you’ll play luggage roulette.

And the favorite place you’ve stayed in forever in the Napa Valley
has doubled its prices
to make up for all the money they’ve lost.
And your gynecologist moved and didn’t bother to tell you.

COVID-19 keeps hanging around, like an obnoxious uncle
the one who has overstayed his welcome and smells like old cigars, and farts.
I thought I was home-free with all my vaccinations and boosters,
until I got knocked down,
I couldn’t eat, couldn’t taste,
went to the ER twice because I felt so bad,
left weak and vulnerable for five weeks.

Slowly I climbed back up off the mat,
but my mojo was gone, my confidence ripped away.
Wearing masks again in Safeway and at the pharmacy; hesitant
to go to plays, movies, concerts or out to dinner.
Normal?                   What was I even thinking?