This revision completes the five lines at the end of my Literary Nook submission published on Monday, Nov. 15, 2021.
Quarantine in Limbo: A Purgatory Story
“Sitting here in Limbo waiting for the tide to flow,
sitting here in Limbo knowing that I have to go”
—Lyrics excerpt from Sitting In Limbo by Jimmy Cliff.
Last year my older sister put me in quarantine
14 days where I grew up in upstate New York
2 flights coast to coast to visit my ailing brother
I had no objections to the old familiar scene
in isolation when it was time for knife and fork
I ate in the kitchen of our departed mother
out back were woods and overgrown roads
I walked in fall foliage where I did as a boy
to safely see my brother brought me great joy
I was allowed to get water from the kitchen sink
Then came a Tantalus tease hard to forget .
10 days next to the sea my feet never got wet
Tantalus tried to serve his son for food to guests
his punishment being unable to reach food or drink
our word “tantalizing” comes from that Greek myth.
Now in Saipan for ten days into quarantine I go
“sitting here in Limbo” between heaven and hell
what this pandemic purgatory is like I can’t tell
at a seaside resort in a 5th floor isolated room
dreading a positive test and impending doom
three meals daily and some fresh vegan meals
I’m learning how a life in limbo isolation feels
though pandemic purgatory is not that great
there’s time for writing and putting on weight.
Ten days inside a room is really quite a bore
but the delta COVID variant is hard to ignore.
Stay safe, give thanks for those helping us.
Joey aka Pepe Batbon Connolly is a retired educator who taught in the CNMI, NOLA, and LVNV. He is a sonnet practitioner who enjoys stargazing.