Scoundrel Time

Scenes From a Pandemic

April 7, 2020

They’re dressing up cats on Facebook and someone has taught a dog to play volleyball— a natural, he always makes the return. Bocelli and Orlenski transcend and console, nepenthe for the quarantined. I hold onto a kitchen chair and learn to plié. The...

The View from My Bed

1. Because the blue and gold pot on my windowsill is made of Prague glass, it seems to glow in the dark. There are four small windows in the bedroom where I am living now. Deep wells set into the low wall of an attic with a sloping ceiling. Each...

Four Poems by Timothy Liu

FLACCID COVID ODE Threw a book party but no one came— _____ MAKE NO MISTAKE You didn’t wear a mask to the Hasid funeral during Mardi Gras! You didn’t plan ahead and bring enough PPE to the BBQ in the Lone-Star State where abortions are no longer...

Barriers

The homeless man, whom I’ll call Gerald, hunched on the end of my exam table, gingerly picking at the metal shield taped over his left eye. “It happened like this, see, I was out panhandling, and with this new virus thing I’ve been trying to keep to...

The View From Inside

Blanche walked through the lobby, her hands in her pants pockets, and looked out the window. Her short hair, usually curled and slightly teased, hung straight and was tucked behind her ears. “That snow is out there taunting us,” she said. I couldn’t...

No Classroom Is an Island

“Remember Hoping Hospital?” I started my oral training class with a rhetorical question. Silence. The eighteen English majors, even the active speakers, had been quiet since the class began in early March. Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, the spring...

Nowadays

With this drawing I was trying to capture the disorientation, isolation, and anxiety of life and “distance learning” during a pandemic.       _____ Isadora Davis is a 14-year-old artist and writer. She goes to the High...

Dispatch from Hanoi

I am lying on my couch, watching the lights come on in Hanoi from the window of my 33rd floor apartment. Phone in hand, I alternately scroll through headlines about the devastation coronavirus is wreaking on the USA, and search for updates about...

Letter from Andalusia

I have been in lockdown, here in Spain, for two weeks now. Actually a bit longer—I didn’t go out much the week before, either. This is our second home, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, in Andalusia. The village is remote, definitely not...

The Trip Home From College

On Monday, I drive six hours from North Carolina to Atlanta to pick up my son Sam from his university. On Tuesday, we prepare to drive back, shoving into our car his entire dorm room—electronic piano, ratty sheets, plastic stackable drawers, boxes...

Mask

Arrival February 10, 2020 I landed in Guangzhou to a newly polished, eerily silent, cavernous airport from my vacation in Vietnam. As I watched a middle-aged man carefully polishing an already gleaming section of marble wall, the feeling crept up on...

Where Is Our Spring?

Each click was only a few minutes apart. Nothing had changed. But I still could not help myself from refreshing my computer screen. It was the John Hopkins COVID-19 Global Tracker, an interactive map that tracked the numbers of infection, death, and...

High Risk

Right before Christmas, I developed a persistent cough. In due course, I went to Urgent Care.  Upon examination, I was diagnosed with pneumonia. An ambulance (with an accompanying fire truck) was quickly dispatched to take me to the ER. I spent the...