by James Penha
I despaired. His paranoia embraced me as he once used to so thoroughly; I could not breathe for the palpitations of fear. I vowed to survive: home from this island of his where we’d lived for decades to New York. But then came the virus. It came here, but not so brutally, not so stupidly, as in America. And so I stayed. On the good days, that was good. On the bad days, like today, when he says I have conspired with his enemies, I think I might have more of a chance to live with COVID-19 than with him.
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past quarter-century in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work has lately appeared in several anthologies: The View From Olympia (Half Moon Books, UK), Queers Who Don’t Quit (Queer Pack, EU), What We Talk About It When We Talk About It, (Darkhouse Books), Headcase , (Oxford UP), Lovejets (Squares and Rebels), and What Remains (Gelles-Cole). His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha