Breathless Vigil by Lana Hechtman Ayers

Breathless Vigil


by Lana Hechtman Ayers


We stand vigil together,

each alone in our own homes.

Some of us stay tuned

to the virtual world,

screen filled with frightening

body counts and new cases.

Some anxiously refreshing

so as not to miss a single update.


And as the walls of the financial

kingdom come crashing down,

others count their stock of stored goods,

toilet paper rolls overflowing closets.

And still others turn to streaming

entertainment, binge watching

every episode in a day.


We are living history,

we are dying history,

moment to moment learning,

perhaps at last,

how every human is entangled

with every other human

all across this blue globe.


Each heart’s warm blood

warms the air in our lungs,

air that we breathe through

speakable, kissable mouths

now kept at special distance.


We scramble to adjust to new

information that takes more

and more away of the way of life

we knew a few short weeks ago.

We seek some meaningful way

to achieve prescribed circumscribed

embrace with those we care for,

from afar, and from near, but now afar.


At last, we truly know

what it means to be connected

to one another by breath,

by wholly life-giving,

death-giving, life-giving breath.


We mourn yesterday when

a trip to the store seemed a chore,

and we mourn all our tomorrows’

cancelled events, the celebrations

that must go unmarked,

the fancy restaurant dinner,

or even a cup of coffee with friends.


Each of us falls in our own way

and only some of us will rise again.

Still, the sun rises,

and spring blossoms,

the sea stirs and stirs, and still,

we humans dare to hope.

sunset Cape Meares Oregon 1016



8 thoughts to “Breathless Vigil by Lana Hechtman Ayers”

  1. I love the poem! Yes, we have hope. While the poem faces squarely what we are going through it pulks us together in a collective embrace.

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