Lines Written During My Second Pandemic

after Franca Mancinelli

All water flows toward loneliness.
Loneliness is a black eye, a gleaming pit.
We have yet to split loneliness like an atom.
Loneliness arrives on a leash of scorpions.
In my skull, loneliness opens like a parachute.
It’s illegal to chain loneliness to a fence.
Flickers tunnel through loneliness to build nests.
I sprinkle a spoon of sugar over loneliness.
In some languages, loneliness is imperfect.
Antlers crown the bald head of loneliness.
Like rough trade, loneliness won’t kiss you.
Loneliness is crouched in a tree, afraid of dirt.
In the dark, loneliness ripens too quickly.
Beneath the roof of loneliness, my blood drifts.


Copyright © 2022 by Eduardo C. Corral. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 31, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“The first line of this poem arrived during the first few months of the Covid pandemic. I was sheltering-in-place: minimizing time spent in shops, finishing the semester on Zoom, and venturing outside now and then. I was, basically, marooned on my couch. After I wrote the first line, I combed my notebooks for language that orbits loneliness. I found a lot. But I only kept fourteen lines because the sonnet is a constriction, and life during those months was constrictive. This poem ripples with the loneliness that sheltered inside my body—another fixed form—in the spring of 2020.”
Eduardo C. Corral