We seem to be approaching the end of the COVID Era, but will be working through the effects of social distancing and isolation for months and possibly years to come. Holly Warren takes a humorous look at the stress social isolation with significant others has had on women in her poem When Howard’s Gone.

When Howard’s gone…

When Howard’s gone I shall buy butter
Cultured, unsalted butter
Rich, creamy, yellow, sweet butter.
I will put butter on my crackers.
I will put butter in my tomato soup
and eat it with buttered crackers.
I will make popcorn and pour too much melted butter
over top, with lots of salt.
And I will eat it all.

When Howard’s gone I shall buy bread
Fresh white bread, maybe a French loaf 
with a crispy crust.
I will buy Butter Buns, a fresh baguette
and an artisan loaf with olives and garlic
and a thick, chewy crust.
I will buy a rustic loaf of brown bread
and cut off the crust, if I want to.
I will slather it with lashings of fresh butter.
And I will eat it all.

When Howard’s gone I shall buy 3 ply Kleenex.
4 ply if I can find it.
I will have a box on every flat surface in the house.
Boxes of decadent, expensive, wonderful 3 ply Kleenex
in every room. And I will blow once into each sheet
then throw it away.
And I will buy the most expensive, luxurious
toilet paper I can find. And I will use
12 squares when 5 would do.
And I will laugh maniacally,
loud enough to give the neighbours pause.

When Howard’s gone I shall buy 14 pairs of Knix panties
The ones that cost $25 a pair
Soft, silky, no panty line, my favourites.
Enough for a fresh pair every day of this week
And next.
And bras, at least 14 bras, one for every day of this week
And next.
And I will wear every one of them, and wash them
And hang them to dry. And I will smile
when I see them hanging over the shower rod
In the bathroom.

When Howard’s gone I shall buy a new iPhone
The latest one, the newest version, brand spanking new
Not refurbished.
Shiny, in the box with the instruction book, new.
And I will set it up the way I want it.
And I will get a world-wide data plan
And call everybody I know.
My new iPhone will have the BEST camera
And be waterproof.
I will set my own ringtone 
and I will answer it when it rings.
Which it will do
When Howard’s gone.

Holly Warren