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The weather does not get that it is late march
that frogs are peeping, moths are hatching, titmice singing,
brown bats skittering across the creek in mid-afternoon,
that there’s squirrel sex in the tree outside my window.
It is snowing this morning, a chill reminder of winter isolation.

This is an awful spring.  Old men in wheelchairs
sit in corridors waiting for visits from relatives
who do not show.  Masked men, masked women come and go,
muffled voices say
eat this, stick thermometers into mouths,
needles into arms.
Where is the aide with the beautiful smile?
On the top floor of a brownstone, a woman who lives alone,
yells at the TV,
Days of Our Lives pre-empted by COVID-19 news.
Children stare out their apartment windows look at empty sidewalks,
wanting friends, dreaming hopscotch, kickball,
miss mary mack mack mack, miss even school.  A lone dog walker
curbs his corgi, stoops, scoops its poop into a plastic bag.  
In hospitals patients lie on beds and gurneys, in rooms, in the ICU,
in corridors while nurses looking like bandidos tie rags over their noses  
and mouths, to block a virus too small to see, hoping to avoid the scourge.
Meanwhile, in Bergamo an old priest turns down a ventilator,
orders it given instead  to a young parishioner, then dies.

I try to focus on the now, on the gilded droplets melting, try to shake
the waking nightmare.

Shari Aber: I am a writer, a reader, a teacher, a learner, an activist, an
observer, a mother, a daughter, a nurturer, a lover, a fighter for social
justice. I have watched both the unconscionable cruelty and the hard-to-
imagine apathy of so many people, yet I am moved more by the
unbelievable generosity of others. I believe that parenting, art, writing,
and teaching all are important, that they all can make this world a better

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Previously published in
Eleventh Transmission:
"Social Distance" by Samantha Raffles.

Published April 20, 2020

45 Poems of Protest: The Pandemic


by Shari Aber
(West Park, New York, USA)
45 Poems of Protest: "Desolate" by Shari Aber
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