Volume 12 • Number 2 • Fall - Winter 2020

Arya F. Jenkins


I am not sure whether to wear my blue surgical mask, which only offers 20-percent protection, or the yellow, one-layer mask also gotten at work, under my blue and white- starred neck gaiter that covers face and neck and probably but not certainly will offer, used with the gaiter, the same amount of protection as the duo-layered 20-percent protection blue surgical mask.

I could wear the KN95 mask, which I learned recently is the Chinese model of the N95, one of the most effective masks you can wear to protect against Coronavirus, although who knows if what I got through the mail is fake or real. The problem is it has only been hanging taped to my studio window two days--since I last went grocery shopping--and I am not sure if sunlight has disinfected it well enough. Yesterday it rained.

I am waiting to get a Prime-delivered spandex and polyester, non-medical mask, good for running, that accommodates to facial muscles, ticks and turns without slipping. I ordered three in varying shades of teal, which will work very well in the fall, and in general when it gets cooler, which will be soon. These masks are due today and would be ideal for this trip to get one thing at the corner store.

I want some ready-made, cold, slightly sweetened tea. Not the Cardamom, or Earl Grey, or Green tea I have in my kitchen cabinet. What I am lusting for is a lemonade and tea Snapple, diet if possible, and for this, any of the masks I mentioned would do, except that the KN95 which is not quite ready seems somewhat extreme for a quick trip to the corner store that should take no more than five minutes. I only use the KN95 for long-term exposure, 20 minutes or more, at the grocery store.

I have two blue surgical masks folded into a paper towel in a compartment in my car, one of which I used last week to purchase paper towels at the local CVS. It has a bit of lipstick on it but is the better choice since the loop over one ear on the other has snapped. Not 100-percent sure whether the 20-percent efficacy of the blue mask will suffice for a quick trip to the Circle K for one item. I guess I will just have to take the chance.

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Arya F. Jenkins is a poet and writer whose fiction has been published in journals and zines such as About Place Journal, Across the Margins, American Writers Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Cleaver Magazine, Eunoia Review, Five on the Fifth, Fictional Café, Flash Fiction Magazine, Glassworks Magazine, The Matador Review, Metafore Literary Magazine, Mojave Literary Review, Sinister Wisdom, The Feminist Wire, and Vol. 1 Sunday Stories Series. Her fiction has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks and a short story collection, Blue Songs in an Open Key (Fomite, 2018). Her website is: