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Covert COVID-19 Banking

In the hour of COVID, Medicare requires
Notarized documents to apply.

“Appointments only,” the banker says. “One o’clock.
“Don’t be early. You won’t get in.
“Don’t be late. You will be canceled.
“Photo ID. Come alone.”

I rap on the door, leaving knuckle-smudges
Of antiseptic wipes on the glass.
I wonder if there is a secret knock:
Shave and a haircut, two bits, or
Morse code for SOS.

Inside the bank, a woman leads me through
The lobby, saying, “Don’t touch. Anything.”
Inside the office, banker and I engage
In mutual ritual cleansing: wipe and swipe
Chair and desktop, daub sanitizer into palms
Rub and scrub, 20 seconds of happy birthday
Or the Doxology, praising God from Whom
All blessings flow.

Signatures and validations occur at proper social distance
Across a three-foot diameter desk with chairs pulled out
Three more, our laps for tables
I use my own pen, wrapped in my protection.
A condom for coronavirus.

“Have a nice day,’ he says. “Jana will escort you out. But don’t touch.
Anything.”

We don’t shake hands.


Biography
Jeanne Lyet Gassman holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College
of Fine Arts. Her first novel,
Blood of a Stone (Tuscany Press), received
an Independent Publishers Book Award in 2015. Additional honors
include nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions.
Her short work has appeared in
Dear America: Reflections on Race,
Bosque 7, The Museum of Americana, and Hippocampus, among many
others.
Her blog,
Jeanne’s Writing Desk: jeannelyetgassman.blogspot.com
Her website: www.jeannelyetgassman.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JeanneLyetGassman
Twitter: @JLyetGassman

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Previously published in
Eleventh Transmission:
"Lockdown Day 8 Down Margaritaville Way" by Karla Linn Merrifield.

Published April 6, 2020

45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic

Covert COVID-19 Banking

by Jeanne Lyet Gassman
(Ruidoso, New Mexico, USA)
11th Transmission: "Covert COVID-19 Banking " by Jeanne Lyet Gassman
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