Pandemic Prompts

Could Have by Marci Rich

“Anxiety is the handmaiden of creativity," wrote T.S. Eliot. For those who need an outlet for creativity during self-isolation and social distancing, Lit Cleveland is offering free writing challenges each week via our newsletter. The following piece is a response to the "This is not that kind of poem" prompt.

Could Have

by Marci Rich

Do not speak to me about grief or pain,

about arguments, about the incessant rain.

Do not write of passion or love unrequited.

Do not sing about tragic heroes benighted.

Do not show me pictures of your cats or dogs,

your children or your gardens, your travelogues.

Do not ask me how I am, how I’m feeling,

how I’m doing, whether or not I’m reeling

From the weight of all this grief or pain,

or the unforgiven moment, or the stain

of water rising on the walls, or the darkened halls

because the light bill went unpaid.

You could have stayed.