The one thing I miss about the pandemic
Was always wearing the mask.
Free range to talk to myself
Without anyone seeing my lips moving.
It’s none of your business.
Sometimes an excited whisper
Often a boring low drone
Mostly a dinner party overcompensation.
The best way to become less self-
Conscious is to incessantly talk to yourself
Out loud as much as you can.
Become the mad man muttering
On the sidewalk that everyone
Crosses the street to avoid.
We aren’t really crazy
Just a little less self aware.
Now that I have to keep those
Conversations to myself again
I experience a certain loss
Like abandonment as a child
Before he understands
What it means to be lonely.
I’m an adult now
Which means all that running
Dialogue has to stay inside my head
Which breaks the spell.
It’s just me staring through ghosts.
I get excited for the drive home
He rides shotgun like it’s Saturday night
Again and we talk the whole way like
Old pals from the neighborhood catching up.
Here we don’t need a mask.
At red lights drivers in adjacent cars
Shake their heads and smile
Younger folks assume I’m on speaker phone.
The elderly guess I’m communing
With a dead dad, projecting on to me
Hopes for their own middle aged kids.
I may as well be
By then there’s no difference
I’ve forgotten it’s just me.