Virtual Grief in a Pandemichttps://i2.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/mane35.jpg?fit=1920%2C1282&ssl=119201282Zachary HourihaneZachary Hourihanehttps://barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/ZacharyHourihane.jpg
For the past month, I had been calling my grandmother every day, from Singapore, to read her a poem. It started as an isolation project. She was cocooned at home in Dublin and I thought she could use the company. Things were bad with Papa, he needed care round the clock.
Last week, I asked my roommate what her favorite compliment she has ever received was. She sat back in our living room chair and thought for a moment. She didn’t question why I was asking, but she considered the question carefully, running through her mental compliment rolodex.
“I like it when people tell me that I’m smart,” she said finally.
Sex With an Alligatorhttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/mane31.jpg?fit=1089%2C1600&ssl=110891600Jillian LuftJillian Lufthttps://barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/JillianLuft.jpg
Meet me after, you’d pleaded before leaving the office. And now I’m sliding on the stool next to you, dissolving like the flakes of ice in your second whiskey, maybe third. It’s so easy to love you, to give into the late afternoon lull and forget. You rub my thigh, tell me you’re glad I came. You knew I would, I say, carving another line near my pulse.
The first time a doctor doesn’t believe me about pain, I am seven years old. My friend and I are practicing gymnastics at my house. We’re both pretty good, so we attempt something we think would be the pinnacle of cool. She’s older than me by a year and twice as big already, so I want to impress her, prove I’m not a second grade baby, that I can hang with the worldly third graders.