BUTTERNUT

I am asked to change even my favorite passwords, in increments, in a base ten system, for the good of the algorithm. My friend and I have been sending one another local news stories, things that pale in comparison to the ensuing pandemic—man approaches officer with hatchet, woman shoots husband because he will not stop talking. I’m cooking with oil, for the first time, for Nova, and he is seeing a new doctor, in a new city, because we’ve evacuated, because I grew up here. The sky was so blue this morning, during my Zoom meeting for the Grounded Downtown group of Alcoholics Anonymous, Los Angeles, California, that it warranted comment from Hal B. Some of the other backgrounds were virtual, digital skyscrapers from a low angle, vanishing point between building tops tilting toward center. I’m 1,856.2 miles away.

Thomas Cook is the author of the forthcoming collection Light Through a Pane of Glass. Recent writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Poetry South, Chattahoochee Review, and New World Writing. He lives in Los Angeles, California and Galesburg, Illinois.

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