“The Return of FOMO: Our Uneasy, Great Reopening.” — Cover article of New York Magazine, June 2021.

- - -

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made Hot Girl Summer by this son of Scranton;
And all the plans that we postponed
In bright colors dance across our Google Calendars.

Now are our sourdough starters set aside;
Our Animal Crossing islands overtaken by weeds;
Our virtual happy hours changed to merry meet-ups;
Our Costco aisles flanked with free samples.

Grim reality has long since quenched our Cuomo thirst;
And now, instead of stitched sea shanties and Tiger King memes,
To share solidarity among far-flung friends,
We return like migratory birds to brunch,
The mimosas weak on our well-tested tongues.

But I, that am reshaped by this panini press,
Unsocial, unfit for flirtation and small talk;
I, whose cat has become so attached
That he whines at me through the shower curtain;

I, best viewed in the gentle glow of a ring light,
Aided by the forgiving blur of a slow connection;
Un-waxed, un-relaxed, unmuted before my time,
Beyond the bounds of the Zoom square, barely dressed,
And that so cheugy and unfashionable,
That Nature herself would swipe left.

Why, I, that have salved my grief with solitude,
Soothed my stress with puzzles and streaming,
Have nothing to boast of in this strange and dormant year,
Except that, like my fiddle-leaf fig, I’m alive.

And therefore, since I cannot prove a hot girl for this summer,
Except behind the Alexa Dellanos Instagram filter,
I am determined to conquer FOMO,
And resist the return to checking if there’s something in my teeth.

Garden plots have I laid, with bountiful crops:
Two tiny cherry tomatoes, and one burnt pepper,
To make an omelet before my commute across the room,
Where my cat already warms the keyboard.

But look, it’s a notification: here
The Duolingo owl comes.