One Hundred Sixty Days Later

By N. E. Griffin

my office like Pompeii
frozen in the moment
disaster struck

my handwriting
on a whiteboard from a meeting
I can’t recall

calendars stuck
on March, still celebrating
women’s history

flier in the break room:
fifteen days to slow the spread
crinkled and filthy

Nicole Griffin, poetry and covid

N. E. Griffin lives in Arlington, Virginia and works for the US government. She is a lifelong writer who dabbles in fiction, poetry, and occasionally creative non-fiction. Her work recently appeared in the Constellate Literary Journal. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @n_e_griffin.  

Since normal life started shutting down in March, I’ve been struck by the desolation and creepiness of empty places. I’ve been mostly teleworking since March, but I still go into the office once every week or two. Every time I go up the elevator, I’m struck by how frozen in time the place feels. There are still posters celebrating Women’s History Month, and in the breakroom we still have fliers from the “Fifteen Days to Slow the Spread” campaign. (For international readers, this was the US government’s half-hearted attempt at a “plan” to combat COVID-19.) Whenever I’m there, I get this macabre vision of some future archaeologist uncovering the place, piecing together the clues of the disaster that befell our civilization.  

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Moira Garland
1 year ago

Using these artefacts you have created a strong sense of what we have left behind and the lack of moving forward in some senses. Thank you.

1 year ago

I love the loneliness of the imagery in this piece – it’s chilling and compassionate and strange, and it speaks of a huge change through tiny moments. Great stuff!

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