Insomnia, every night insomnia. And then when I do sleep, nightmares. Someone I know is having a COVID birthday party; they livestream themselves dancing alone in a huge warehouse. The music is slow and desultory, and they talk about life and loneliness as they dance. In my dream it is supper time and my love and I are sitting at the table. I am telling her about this this birthday party of one, when a screen pops up in the middle of the fireplace and beams the livestream over the table, only someone else has now joined my friend and they are dancing at a distance, dancing with viewers.
I am trying to figure out how a screen suddenly emerged on the fireplace and how it works when I notice, shadowed through the closed curtains, a human form outside on the porch. I approach the windows slowly—some peculiar sense tells me not to look directly at whatever or whomever is there. I twitch open a curtain to the side and slumped against the house, spread-eagled across the porch doors, is a giant dead or dying person, skin gone blue, hand millimetres from mine on the other side of the glass. I am terrified and begin shouting in my sleep, calling my partner’s name. She puts her arms around me, it it takes a long time to wake up.
I, like so many, dread this wave of death hurtling towards us; every time I hear the news out of the US my chest and throat constrict, as if I can’t breathe. No wonder the night falls so hard. We draw the curtains and listen to the wind but we can’t shut it out. There is no moon.
Strange, how every utterance, no matter how factual, becomes a metaphor.
31 March 2020 from Eskikewa’kik, one of the seven districts of Mi’kma’ki, on unceded and ancestral land of the Mi’kmaq Nation, from a site of isolation also known as West Quoddy Nova Scotia.