Here’s a poem I wrote late spring in the beginning of the pandemic, for my brother, inspired by how one tragedy calls up another.
Another World a 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.
Thanks to Courtney Cook Williamson for selecting my poem,
“Metrophobia (the Fear of Poetry) in a Time Covid-19”
for The Decameron!
Here’s a link to their inspiring site:
Lana Hechtman Ayers Embraces a pandemic poem A few nights ago, in the car on our way to our sheltering place, I was contemplating how all over the virtual world there is fear and poetry, people reporting sadness and success at isolation. All I could think was dark thoughts, how in two weeks or so many of us will be ill, and some gone forever. “Six degrees of separation,” my husband said, as our car careened through ghost town streets, “guarantees we will know someone whose life the virus claims. “And yet,” he continues, “Statistically, only a couple of percent of the billions of people on earth will die, so, it’s truly unlikely that it will be you or me.” I was a Mathematics major in college many decades ago, so my rational mind should have believed him. But the only place my thoughts could traverse was we haven’t written our wills. Our two dogs asleep in the back seat dreamt with bated breaths, perhaps chasing prey, unknowing of the prey all we humans had become. At home, where we’ll remain for untold months to come, we may hurt for healthy groceries, supplements, cleaning supplies, but reading material and entertainment channels flourish. However, no amount of binge watching British police dramas quells my prospering fears. The only way I manage even a few hours of restless sleep is to keep inventing a movie inside my head I hope someday some director will actually film— unreeling across my closed eyelids I watch strangers hugging in restaurants, strangers hugging in offices, in the middle of crowded streets, hugging in grocery stores and at gas stations— this and only this allows me to let go of the day’s dread, this envisioning of humans reaching out for one another, with open arms and hearts, these embraces after pandemic