Toni Spellacy – Avoiding the Void – A Collection of Poems


I wrote these poems in the hope and belief that many people would relate to these same feelings. Although many of these feelings are bleak, the fact that we all share them brings me comfort and happiness in community. We are together in this isolation, even if it doesn’t always feel like it. 

A Busy Mind is a Clear Mind

I have so much work to be done,

But my thoughts are on the run.

How can I focus,

While feeling so hopeless.

Study groups are long gone,

But I must continue on.

I’d rather think about sine graph bends, 

Than how much I miss my friends.

Daydreaming used to cause procrastination 

But now it’s just causation for frustration.

So I’d rather put my head down and wonder 

About the behaviors of hunters

and gatherers, than let my mind wander

And land on what it was like when I was younger,

When time to do everything I wanted was unfound,

Not the other way around,

But now everything has turned upside-down. 

Necessities become Activities

Mom, Can I cook tonight?

Or at least help?

Or just set the table?

Or even sit here and watch you cook?

You cooked last night, dear.

Wouldn’t you like to take a break?


Cooking is such a chore.

At least it makes me feel something,

The warmth of the oven, 

The heat of the stove.

At least it makes me smell something,

The garlic becoming fragrant,

The tomato sauce, sweet with time.

At least it makes me hear something,

The sizzle of chicken placed in a hot pan.

The boiling water waiting for pasta to be tossed in.

At least it gives me something to do

That isn’t staring at a screen.

Alright honey,

Have at it.

I will clean up after dinner.

Could I do that too, please?

So Close, So Far

Plants are beautiful,



Green and fruitful.

But plants are not people.

They cannot carry a meaningful conversation

With someone who misses human interaction

Outside of her house.

A shout comes from somewhere in the vicinity,

A young girl calling her dog.

I’m sure this child has lived here for years,

And I never had the urge to have any relationship with her. 

But now, with my circle of acquaintances so small,

I wish she would come over and say,

Hi! This is my dog, Charlie.

In the squeaky voice of toddlers 

that used to pierce my ears,

But now would sound like music.

But I’m stuck here with my plants,




One Life, Two Life

“Dinner!” My mom shouts from the kitchen,

Something aromatic, maybe onions?

Has wafted into my room through the vents.

My stomach growls,

But I yell, “One minute!” 

From my den of imagination.

The food can wait,

But I must know if Harry, Ron, and Hermione,

Are going to escape the giant troll in the Dungeon. 

The chapter ends, and I run out to the waiting warm pot of soup

In my own house, not Hogwarts.

My dad greets me, “How was school?”

And I tell him about my own adventures, 

Evading scary recess ladies on the playground. 

But now, when he asks me this,

I look up from my book,

And mutter, “Fine,”

I scour my thoughts for any anecdote about my 

Virtual day,

But I cannot think of any.

So I return to the story,

An escape from my now dull existence.

I used to have two lives,

And now it seems I have only one.

Freedom Becomes Monotony

My mom never listened to music

When we went to run

Saturday mornings at Chambers Bay.

She liked to people-watch instead.

I preferred pushing play,

On a podcast, or new playlist. 

Breathing in the fresh air.

We were never bored,

Free to do whatever we wanted,

Run wherever we pleased. 

“I’m getting on the treadmill at four.”

I now inform my mom,

So we won’t run into each other on the 

Thin, short, track that spins around and around

And around

And around again. 

What used to make me feel so free,

Makes me feel so confined. 

Did you know,

That treadmills were invented to be

A punishment for prisoners?

It’s All Just Stimulation

What is the point of all these news stories

Recounting the same stories 

Over and over again? 

There is no new information,

And yet people are glued to their televisions.

As if there is going to be some new 

Life-changing tidbit of change

If they miss just a second. 


I’ll just put on my headphones

Drown the world out.

Scroll endlessly on one app

Until I get bored.

And decide to switch to another.

My screen time is so high,

Maybe I should take a break,

And go outside.

But it is simply so entertaining,

I can’t put it down.


Day 1

Dear Diary,

Maybe this isn’t so bad.

I got to make cookies.

It was so relaxing.

Day 2

Dear Diary,

Today I was bored.

I can only make so many cookies.

My mom says we need to save flour anyways,

The grocery stores are bare.

Day 7 

Dear Diary,

The littlest things make me light up.

I got to go outside on a walk with my mom.

Maybe I will learn to appreciate the small stuff.

Day 24

Dear Diary,

The house is not big enough

For my whole family.

We argue and yell.

We all just want some space

But a house only has so many rooms.

Day 35

Dear Diary,

I’ve been thinking for ages

But I cannot recall a single thing

That happened today.

Day 41

Dear Diary,

Can you hear me?

This seems endless.

I wish I could be

Anywhere but here.

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