As I write this, the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is sweeping across my country. I want to be hopeful this next year will be different, but I’m honestly sort of numb after expending so much energy in 2021 on fear and rage and anxiety. I’m exhausted, and it’s going to be a while before that will change.

The small handful of times we were able to see family and friends in person and my first two short story publications were the highlights of the year. There were other positives, like Zoom sewing and writing sessions and finishing a cosplay and learning new fabric arts. And our one little family trip to the beach. I wish it had been safe enough to enjoy life more outside computer screens and our home.

In honor of the holiday, I have composed a short poem. I wish it were happier, but sometimes, realism is all I have in me.

I really do wish you a Happy New Year. I hope you have a healthy and joyful one, despite of everything beyond our control.

Myself, Tomorrow

Here
On the eve of
Another year
I wonder

Will I learn
To be less
Me?
Is that what I even want?

In our parallel worlds,
There’s no two way glass—
Just a funhouse mirror—
And I am stretched and wobbly

Like taffy pulled
Around electrical wire.
Touchy,
My compassion’s gone a hard left.

I want . . .

I want
Less of me now
And more of “me”
Later.

I still hope,
But hope is a four letter word,
And I am stretched.

Copyright (c) Amanda Cook, 2021

And thanks for reading.

A. Cook

Amanda Cook is a writer and stay at home mom who lives in a southern Indiana woods with her spouse, kids, and one clingy dog. In the Before Times (and sometimes even now), she could/can be found helping out with her kids' school, catching up on her toppling TBR pile, playing games with her friends, hanging out at virtual conventions, crying over period dramas, or sewing yet another cosplay. Her second novel, "When We Were Forgotten," was the winner of the 2018 Bronze Medal for Best Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror E-Book from the Independent Publisher Book (IPPY) Awards. She writes short speculative fiction that can be found at various markets and here on her blog.

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