Assume the employee smiles as you
wait in line for a sanitized shopping cart.
Assume she has slight imperfections
in her front teeth as you do.
Tiny chips from hard candy mishaps
back in the early 2000s
that you choose to notice while
you examine your mouth in the mirror.
Assume that they're eyes are telling the truth--
they didn't wake up with a fever this morning,
and neither did the lady or her four kids behind you.
Assume by their relaxed body language
that we're all still safe from something we can't see.
Assume that since your own smile is naked,
somehow, you'll get out of this public place untouched.
It feels like you do. You hope, anyway.
Assume that the governor knows what's best when he says
"It is suggested that all citizens wear facemasks,
regardless if they're showing symptoms."
You put the peanut butter in the cupboard
and the paper plates on the counter.
You wash your hands for twenty seconds,
singing "Happy Birthday" twice, just like they said.
You touch your face because you assume you're clean.
Assuming your own risk, you pick up your phone and
in a rigid, robotic fashion, your search begins.
Assume you will see "out of stock" and "due to high demand,"
and assume that you will come up empty-handed, again.
You find her though,
a young girl who has made hundreds face masks to sell
on her online shop.
She asks you to select your pattern,
and as I scan my choices,
I imagine what would accompany my feverish face the best.
"Cats," I say to her through a series of clicks.
"Cats, and I think, I'll take the one with roses too."
© Bitsy Sanders, April 2020