The sun glows with the pale red pain of a dying ember at the bottom of a pit. The smoke is thick enough to have the texture of sandpaper as wispy drifts can be seen in the all encompassing fog I pull myself through. I can smell the forest that once was alive but is now ash. I’ve forgotten I’m wearing a cloth mask because breathing is so hard. I should have worn a respirator. We all have one or a gas mask now due to the government goons the demagogue white supremacist president sent to town to use chemical weapons on anyone who calls for the police to stop killing Black people. Still, the shots fired from racist militia guns scare me more. The smoke feels thicker by the second like a tar pit becoming more viscous as you sink down. The bottom has to be near. Just when I feel like I can’t take another step the store comes into focus.
I step inside and I want to pull off my mask, but I can’t because of the deadly global pandemic. Everyone is in a quiet panic. No one will look each other in the eyes. Maybe it’s because half of our faces are covered. Perhaps it’s because we have to stand two meters from another living being at all times. Maybe it’s because we’ve forgotten what it’s like to trust.
I get my dental floss and go back into the night in the middle of the day.