Forty Percent Senseless

/ Spencer Vossman (Writer), Allison Gable (Illustrator)

Poetry2 min reading time

An open strawberry Yoplait cup with a spoon inside the yogurt.

Yoplait, please
don’t play with me.
You call this strawberry?
My tongue turns into a strainer
sampling this paste of pinkness.
All your original sweetness
dripping out from the sieve,
replaced with some
diluted rot disguised
as yogurt.

This first of many sick meals
will be just like the next –
nothing savored.
I scoop up half the cup,
trash the rest.

/ / / / /

Don’t heed the warning from WebMD:
“You’ll die in four days.”
If spared, I’ll get taste back
gradually, although
my most fashionable self asks
if it ever really left?
I’ve modeled this uniform
for weeks now: pajama pant
bottoms and T-shirt tops,
bed head along
with a sober mien.

/ / / / /

Smell dissipates
shortly after taste
and I’m left sniffing back
lines of snot.
When my dog trots
snout-first into my room,
I envy the pup, remembering
I too could once
encounter the cosmos
through an inhale.

Told Mom
my nose feels
like a wind tunnel today
but I knew
this didn’t capture it.
Think “desert”.
Something huge
and empty.

I keep making mistakes
with my wording,
keep consistent shelter
over the bones
of my bedding.
I wear my blankets
like a nomad’s poncho
when I exit my cave,
bathroom bound.
One test,
lone swab
sealed like sous vide,
lays here upon
the tile shelf, exiled
from the other Q-tips. It waits
in an arid square, keeping
a countdown
until it braves the badlands
yet again.

/ / / / /

Listen, spending New Years’ alone
is an under-appreciated concept.
A hopeful slope —
starting off
at the lowest point,
bedbound by necessity
when the world resets.
Maybe positive attitudes
nullify positive results?
Maybe cliché is the cure.

But tonight’s the night
to break into your bookstacks
sink into the TV, take solace
in killing time.
Clink your own glass.
Here’s to good health
in 2022! An auld lang
sign of things to come.
You’d forget
the fizzy tang
of a toast anyway,
how you hungered
for the age ahead,
champagne bubbles
and fireworks
popping a year's remnants
into zeroes.