Pandemic Poetry


Art by Cody Lea Read

Meaning in a Mask


When did it become the new normal?

To grab a mask before you walk out the door

hook an elastic string around one ear

then the other

breathe in and feel the fabric kiss your lips

fitting to your face like an awkward second skin

breathe out and it gives you space

as if we don’t have enough of that these days.

When did that small shield become a comfort?

To hide from the world

pulling whatever faces you wish

concealing acne, braces;

no judgment where there is nothing to be seen.

Before, a mask might have been

a warning to stay away, a signal of sickness

a rare sight.

Now, a slip of fabric announces to everyone that:

this wearer respects science

this wearer follows rules

this wearer cares about others’ health.

Decked out in disposable hospital blue or

white duckbills or

airy bandanas or

a mask someone’s grandmother made, ribboned and bright

like a splash of color against the gray of every monotonous day.

Who could have predicted that a simple mask could hold such meaning?



Isolation


I’m alone in my room

lying on my bed.

The shades are down

it’s dark, the air is dead.

I’m staring at the ceiling

my breathing is a mess.

The ceiling’s staring back

a weight upon my chest.

The walls aren’t closing in

they’re simply way too close.

I never felt this way before

that’s what scares me the most.

It helps to be outside

to stand in the fresh air.

Tilt my face up to the sun

bask in the warmth there.

Reveling in the openness.



A Dog’s Perspective


It’s all about perspective

someone may call the pandemic

the “defining moment of their life”

not in a good way, of course

but to others the pandemic is

the “best time of their life”

because they get to spend

every hour

of every day

with their family:

no more leaving them for work

plenty of time to play

always available for attention

who am I talking about?

dogs of course

man’s best friend

who doesn’t know that their owners have no choice

no, to dogs, we have chosen

them.



Questions


When this is all over, what will happen?

Will everything go back to the way it was before?

Is that even possible?

Will everyone be more aware of personal space?

Or will I be the only one who automatically backs away if someone gets too close?

Will people still wear masks?

Or will they fade away like memories?

Will COVID become a thing of the past, eventually?

Or will it be something that stays with us forever, like the flu?

Will this

Will that

Will this

Will that

I hate uncertainty

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