BY KAROL NIELSEN
I moved back to Manhattan on Labor Day after a year and a half with my parents in Connecticut. My office was supposed to reopen but it got pushed back by a month, and then indefinitely, because of the spike in Covid infections. I cleaned my apartment before I returned but I couldn’t get on top of all the plaster dust that accumulated when the workmen repaired my bathroom. The plumber had cut holes in the wall and ceiling to fix a coop building pipe that was leaking. I swept up the dust again after I moved back. But it’s still accumulating fast. I already have a routine: I buy iced hazelnut coffees in the morning and then work from my couch writing evaluations for specialty occupation visa applications, like I had at my Midtown office and remotely in Connecticut. I sit outside at local restaurants with pene pasta, chicken Caesar salad, and the occasional cheeseburger in the afternoon. I walk in Central Park and catch up with the vendor who sells me diet iced tea. At five, my parents call me on FaceTime to ease the adjustment to being on my own again. My first week back, I shared a photo on Facebook of geraniums I saw in my neighborhood and a writing student said I sounded elated to be back. I said yes but the truth is it’s intense to be alone in the city during a pandemic. I am waiting for my office to reopen. I am waiting to teach live writing classes again. I am waiting for my open mic poetry reading to go live again. I miss the clapping and laughter.