Pandemic Wonderfor Andy
None of us is immune
to death, we humans born
with an expiration guarantee.
This was always the deal.
So why does death feel
more real than ever before?
There’s no cure or vaccine
for the Corvid 19 yet, sure
and there may never be.
Perhaps it will rage
through all humanity
until only the fittest remain.
How many lives will be
claimed when this
pandemic is finally history?
That, and for how long
this enforced isolation will
continue are a fatal mystery.
But you and I are blessed
that while living through
such stressful times, we are
one another’s shelter in place,
each other’s compassionate grace.
And the days, however brief
they may be, grow sweeter
not in spite of, but because of
coronavirus’ looming noose.
We live so much closer now—
as we should have done all along,
a gift granted by uncertainty—
this death threat that heightens
and enlivens our love.
Another Worlda pandemic poem
This morning I woke in the former world,
the world before the virus, or so I believed.
The sun had the same kiss of brass to it
as it does in this post Covid 19 morning.
The scent of spring was similarly buoyant
on the morning breeze, daffodils and the early
hyacinths. The same black-mohawked Steller’s Jay
perched on the edge of the roof, staring down
at the morning coastline below our hillside,
sea dark and serene, swells horizonward with
white crests like bobbing gulls. They may
have been actual seagulls, this morning,
or in that former world. A calm, lulled,
sort of ordinary morning that brims with
coffee aroma and the slow thoughts that come
into focus with each sip—the necessary
to do list—work, pets, chores. A morning that
but for the virus could be any other. I can
take my cat into my arms, but not hug
my neighbor, just home from his cataract
surgery at the hospital. I cannot take
the dogs for a morning stroll in
the shuttered park, nor meet a friend out
for lunch, nor run an errand
just to pick up an item or two.
Every decision in this world’s morning
is about staying far from death’s embrace.
About keeping each other safe.
About love filtered through masks and screens
and the morning light of pandemic.
Lana Hechtman Ayers
Welcome to the New World
Movement in my peripheral vision’s edge
makes me look away from the screen
out the window in front of my desk.
I’m barely in time to catch the tell-tale
white head and serrated wide wings
of an eagle—American symbol of freedom—
before it soars over the roofline out of view.
I’ve been staring at my computer for so long
the words of the manuscript I’m editing
have become ancient hieroglyphics.
The sight of the cumulus-filled sky bordered
in blue and the rippled pink-tinged beige sand
and aqua green seawater below the hillside
is such welcome relief. Concentration has been
hard to achieve with the startling grief
I’m experiencing during this global pandemic—
so many losses. To look out at this bright spring day
one could be fooled into believing all is well.
Calm. People strolling the weekday beach,
throwing frisbees or tossing balls to their dogs.
Even the stubborn hydrangea outside my porch
gate has come into full leaf, buds at the ready.
But my heart will not settle into steady rhythm.
My breath is shallow. Later, I must make my weekly
excursion into town for food—masked, gloved,
hatted, scarfed—looking like a nineteenth century
immigrant just off the boat from Poland,
wearing all of the clothes she owned at once,
frightened of the unknown new territory where
communication and comfort appeared impossible.
I wonder, is this how my grandmother felt,
fifteen and alone, disembarked at Ellis Island
into the blinding sunlight after weeks seasick
in the dark bowels of the ship? Her family had sent
her in 1918, decades ahead of the holocaust,
not knowing she’d be the only one of her bloodline
to make safe passage. And how did my young
grandmother manage her loneliness,
knowing no one else, everyone and everything
around her strange and possibly dangerous?
I never once in all the years I knew her, nor
in the years since her passing, stopped to think
of her bravery. I never thanked her or celebrated
her for being the heroine she was. She made my
American life possible. If my grandmother could
muster all that courage at the tender age of fifteen
for a sea journey of weeks, surely, I can
manage as much for a simple half-hour trip to
the grocery store and back, in my own car,
me a native here in my fifth decade of life.