Lana Hechtman Ayers
Praise in a Viral Time
for Jane & everyone
Praise to the grocery store worker
who greeted me cheerfully
on the phone when I let her know
I’d arrived to pick up
the order I’d placed online.
Praise to her eyes blue as today’s sky
that smiled apologetically
when she said she couldn’t fill
half my order, there being
simply not much in stock.
I told her she was a hero for being here
in a time of virus to help feed us,
and she said, “We’ll all get through
this crazy time together.”
Praise to the pharmacy clerk,
arriving at the drive-thru window
her hands gloved, smile
bright as her cherry-red hair.
I told her she was a hero for helping
us be as healthy as possible
with so many spreading illness.
She said, “I have lung issues
and both my children are
Let’s all be careful.”
Praise to all those who go to work
every day, side by side with a death
virus at work, invisible as breath.
Praise to the delivery drivers,
the warehouse and factory workers,
and the farm workers laboring
tirelessly for the good of all.
Praise to the firemen and lawmen,
to the pharmacists, the EMTs,
the nurses, the doctors always
selflessly on the front lines.
Praise to the tech folks
who keep our virtual worlds
so we can be together
in this ether of electrons.
Praise to all those online
posting messages of humor
and survival and hope.
Praise to the postal workers
even if it’s mostly bills, praise to
all the utility employees,
everyone who keeps the power on,
the water flowing cleanly, freely.
Praise to the garbage men,
praise to the cleaners and janitors
perhaps most of all, blessings
and endless praise for making
every surface safe once again.
Praise to the homeless man
who looked at my privileged self
with pity on his weather-beaten face
and said, “You can get through this,
honey. I’ve done it for years.”
Praise to human kindness
that blossoms in times of crisis,
like spring after a relentless,
Praise to every human on earth,
even those who have not yet
discovered in their hearts
a way to be generous,
a way to reach out to others
in these uncharted times.
Praise to being human because
we all have the capacity
for growth and change,
and at the very least,
all can be civil,
as my counselor Jane told me
on the phone this very morning,
Most of us stop for the red light.