My Daughter Quarantined in the Basement

daughter I can’t see    daughter once of padlocked diary stickered with hearts
sewing machine given by my mother    of bundled yarn

embroidery hoop    she cross-stitches in blue Fuck this shit
of springform pan    daughter of 3-layer chocolate cakes

with meticulous design    daughter wishing for a separate life
for space from me    as she should at 17

yet she is sick    and I can’t touch her    and how I wish
I had a baby monitor    as I go to sleep each night not knowing

and outside winter is turning    the squirrels are brash and ravenous
like last spring    will this one be furiously green    are all seasons now

exaggerated versions of themselves    this winter such pure dark
Are you writing about this?    my girl snapchats me from the basement

among our dirty laundry    boxes of baby sleepers    stringed
Christmas lights    I picture her lying on the floor

curled in blankets    with the stuffed hedgehog she took down
for comfort when she found out she tested positive    and all

I wish is that I could place my palm over her forehead
check for fever    set a cool washcloth on her face    hold her

on my lap    spin a pink bulb of  Tylenol between her lips

Copyright © 2021 by Nicole Cooley. This poem was first printed in Poetry (June 2021). Used with the permission of the author.