What They Said

What They Said | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Courtesy of Rudy Dong/Unsplash.


“What are you reading?” she asked,

from behind an orange mask.

In the past, I would have smiled,

responded cordially about this book,

only this pandemic has changed me.

My intolerance has grown, like

an overdue tumor on the side of my neck.

The man who spread next to me

on the flight to Houston. He wore

flip-flops and pushed his way

into the middle seat. Near the aisle,

I grew smaller. His legs opened further.

“You asked for it,” they said.

Tonya Suther is an award-winning poet and the author of On the Brink (2021). Her poems appear at the Academy of American Poets, the Awakenings Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, with an old cat. 
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