I wrote this poem in November when I suffered from COVID. Of all the symptoms I suffered, losing my senses of smell and taste seemed worst. I cannot adequately explain why to most people. If you are a writer, you probably understand.


Six days ago, COVID stole my senses.
Buttered toast slipped into
runny yolk. Lavender soap foamed
between cold fingers, but
might as well use Ivory.

Even my sacred dark, hallowed
coffee—hollow, hot liquid now.

At least, I muse, I savor
memories of flavor, smell.
Moments in mind when words like

“toast” beckon eggs fried,
mornings crisp like bacon, fire
crackling near our fat velvety
beagle’s ears, smooth as melted butter.

Or say “coffee.”
December white comes through
bright, stark breath
against gray bird skies outside
your tall paned glass doors. We sit
together that morning, huddled warm
surrounded by cardboard boxes
like shrapnel. You find two mugs.

For one morning, we sip coffee in silence,
your arms covering me,
smooth, slow, strong.

–Bethany Wallace, ©2020

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