Passing each other on the sidewalk, we hold our breaths like children in a graveyard. The numbers have shifted from coherent to numbing. Over 200,000 infections in America tonight, and nearly five thousand dead. People close to me are falling ill.

The playgrounds have closed. More and more, it’s hitting home: I grew up during a uniquely lucky and stable time. Waiting in line at the supermarket checkout, I watch a woman spin around and shriek at the man standing four or five feet behind her. “Six feet apart. What don’t you understand about that? Six. Feet. Apart.” Her voice is like a wild creature behind her surgical mask, a boxed-in hysteria more unsettling than any exponential curve.

Our president gave a press conference with a man who runs a pillow company. He encouraged us to use these solitary days to read our Bibles. Our president was chosen by God, the pillow man said. And there’s an Old Testament logic to this idea: a plague visited upon a nation that chose a cruel game show host as its leader.

Meanwhile, spring continues to bloom like a taunt, conjuring visions of crowded cafés, street corners, and parks. This pandemic season reminds me of the logic of grief: the constant loop of forgetting followed by painfully remembering that everything has changed.

Daniel Avery & Alessandro Cortini – Illusion of Time

From Illusion of Time | Phantasy, 2020 | Bandcamp

My favorite record of the year so far, a grainy blend of the haunted and hopeful that captures the current mood.