stanley h. barkan
After twelve weeks of sheltered in place / quarantined, because of the
Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” now in the form
of Covid -19, the virus borne out of Wuhan, my wife Bebe is suffering
from advanced shpilkes. Every day she says, “When is this going to end?!
Like all Jewish women, she loves shopping, so much so, that no matter
how bad her back pain is, and she’s shopping, it immediately disappears.
So, now deprived for so long, she cleans out her clothes closet, finds an
old blouse and skirt, doesn’t recall when she wore them before, thus
it’s like a replacement for shopping. Yesterday, she put on the old/new
blouse and skirt, and went looking for more in the now cleaned-up closet.
For the rest of yesterday, she didn’t seem to be suffering too much from
shpilkes, but, every once in a while, she would cry out, “Dr. Kervorkian,
where are you when I need you?!” And so it goes when a woman is deprived
of Century 21, Nordstrom’s Off the Rack, Sachs Off Fifth, and other boutiques.
For now, Bebe’s closet will have to do, a short respite for her shpilkes.
—Stanley H. Barkan
From a new collection in process, Fifteeners,
after the 15-line poems in William Heyen’s Vehicles (2020)