One year in, a pandemic poem

One year in, a pandemic poem
February 2020,
when we look back now, it almost seems funny,
A whole year has passed in the blink of an eye,
(read: agonizing slog; a lifetime’s gone by).
As we licked envelopes for our Valentines, freely,
our hopes were still bright, our nerves still so steely.
2020 was ahead! Such a promising year!
(With just whispers of a novel virus with a name like a beer.)
We knew about Wuhan, but were WE in its reach?
(Or could we be like Teflon Don after being impeached?)
The news grew more grim as we all Marched ahead,
though my kids were both sick, out of school, stuck in bed.
At the doc I felt foolish for asking “could it be?”
(though it turned out he had Scarlet Fever, she had Flu B).
And on that fateful day in Mid-March when everything closed
we’d already spent the prior week home.
Suddenly the whole world came to a halt
A pandemic was upon us, we were under assault.
In March things were new, terrifyingly so,
with orders of “shelter in place” / “stay at home.”
People were panicking as so many were dying,
(though some said it would “magically disappear”; they were lying).
We adopted new schedules, our vocabulary grew
To include “socially distancing” and “quarantine crew.”
In our house we knew we were deeply lucky,
Though seeing my parents through windows felt sucky.
With April showers came the banana bread boom,
And Instacart orders and “you’re muted” on Zoom.
Mommy school, car parades, delivery slots,
Celebrating healthcare heroes with the clanging of pots.
The bright, warm Spring we’d all been expecting
Was replaced by isolation and mad disinfecting.
By May the virus had taken its toll,
Feeding on hope, numbers out of control.
Schools were closed for the year, “If I have to teach you
expect cocktails with virtual tours of Machu Picchu!”
We all stayed in sweatpants, got to know Dr. Fauci,
Baked sourdough and stayed glued to the couch-y.
Protests erupted, we were brought to our knees
When as a country we heard George Floyd’s “I can’t breathe.”
As the June sun rose things started to move,
gray-haired folks poked their heads out, to find a new groove,
so tired of loneliness, darkness and strife,
“We need contact,” some said. “We must get back to life.”
For us, and I don’t mean to sound like a martyr,
This change actually made life oh so much harder.
With clear mandates we could all stay on the same page,
But we watched from indoors as the summer fun raged.
(Please don’t get me wrong, we had plenty of fun,
Isolated with my parents, a pool and the sun.
And so I can’t complain, our list of “haves” has no end,
It just hasn’t included a hug from our friends.)
In July we went hiking and did hip hop outdoors,
But missed normalcy, crowds, even grocery stores.
It was hard that our country, deemed as “United”
Grew increasingly hostile, hateful, divided.
When we all should have masked our President brayed.
He was too pompous and all of us paid.
September came swiftly and I really was awed
by how deftly the people peeled off into pods.
There were cohorts for learning virtually,
(both synchronously and asynchronously).
We talked metrics, monoclonal antibodies,
An election, our generation, operation warp speed.
Frontline workers were deservedly applauded,
But one group has yet to be adequately lauded:
Our teachers, let me jump in and say, are heaven sent.
How have they not broken with how much they’ve bent?
Thank you, dear teachers, for all that you do.
We’d never survive this if not for you.
As the leaves fell, so did our spirits.
We may not understand this virus, but we’ve learned to fear it.
Then, RBG died, the fate of SCOTUS in shambles,
Did I miss the “hypocrisy” clause after the preamble?
With the election our citizens found more reasons to hate,
With a maskless crescendo at the fiery first debate.
Then, October! Surprise! I woke up from a dream
To see CNN say, “Trump has COVID-19”
As our country waited with breath that was baited
Thousands of the less fortunate were intubated.
We wept as we tried to honor the dead,
The news spewed bleak statistics, it was blue vs. red.
But, with all of the pain and all of the loss,
And all of the loneliness that comes at a cost,
There was joy this autumn and I can’t just discount
The ways in which community members rallied around.
From our socially distant, contact-free trick-or-treating
(careful not to ingest too much Purell when you’re eating!)
To an innovative democratic process of voting
Where we got it right (I promise, not gloating).
November brought us the change we’ve needed,
Small voices were heard, their advice was well-heeded.
And on November 7, when the election was called
Joseph Biden the victor, with liberty and justice for all.
There was room to hope again, permission to dream,
For the first time since the start of COVID 19.
As the craziest year crept to a close
We all reflected on that which means most.
Try as I may and try as I might
It’s impossible to say this without sounding trite:
We found magic in madness, memories in mess,
Did puzzles, played UNO, and even learned chess!
Binged all of Netflix (and Hulu and Prime),
Eat all meals together, every day, every time.
The strength and grit with which my kids have responded
Is awesome and during this time we’ve all bonded.
I love them as humans, they teach me each day,
Wherever they go from here will be the right way.
It’s 2021 now and the threats remain real,
But with grit comes growth, and from hurt we can heal.
February has brought snow, here, with loud winds of change,
(that often sound like Pfizer, Moderna, J&J…)
Shots are going in arms, science is working,
Perilous variants are constantly lurking.
This pandemic has certainly taken its toll,
But it’s also shown me that there are some things I just can’t control.
I can’t take health for granted,
Each moment a gift,
Nothing that means anything is ever easy or swift.
We have more than most,
For more I can’t ask.
And if I see you I promise I’m smiling from behind my 3 masks.
I miss you, dear world,
But we shall meet again.
Hey, a “socially distant acquaintance” is the new “best friend.”
Be kind to yourself, as that is a must.
May peace be with you and in Fauci we trust.

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