Yesterday was the first day this plague overran my mental defenses. I sat in my chair for long spells staring. Time languished and curdled with disuse. I felt like I was waiting for something that would not leave. I heard church bells as I looked for my car, only to find that it had been towed because of road repair while this city of over 8 million has been sheltering in place. I tricked our son into doing a handful of subtraction questions, and that was school for the day. A friend texted me with the kind word that I desperately needed, but I was too distracted by the world to write back. I kept thinking of “A Death in Venice” and how everything just lingers, saturated by plague and stillness. Ambulance sirens are like new cracks in pane glass. I thought of the paradox of helping people most by staying home away. I looked at my art supplies stacked above a book of theology and below a book on understanding grief. I spent much of the day reading “A Visit From the Goon Squad”. I am not sleeping well. America does not understand how bad it will be soon in their communities and reading about it prevents nothing. When we all left the apartment for the first time in nine days, I wore a face mask with a print of paisleys. My wife has a mask with a print of unlit matchsticks all in ordered rows. I warned our six-year-old son not to remove or touch his mask, not even to show his nose. We ordered pizza and zeppole for dinner. Today, it may rain.