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A poem to bring some comfort


Each day the rules changed.
It was hard to keep up.
On Thursday I was embarrassed of Wednesday.
On Sunday I was shameful of Saturday.
Trivial tasks were suddenly of the greatest importance.
|I vacuumed that kitchen floor with such purpose,
and I had never gotten such satisfaction from selecting combinations of leftovers for meals.
I was truly proud.

I was suddenly thrust into a world in which my daughter was much more equipped and familiar.
I followed her lead.
As the physical perimeters closed tighter around us,
my heart expanded.
The birds and the squirrels were already our friends,
but now they became our community.
They knew we needed them.
We fed them diligently.
We were determined to keep them close.
And their freedom became ours.
My early morning wake-ups facilitated this new closeness,
for sleep was scarce.

Every morning, like clockwork
I woke in the darkness.
No longer a gradual introduction to the day
immediately arrested by thoughts of our new world
a collective quiet
where nature was back in command.
We waited for our orders
from a microscopic organism.
We had no choice but to submit.
While empty streets stretched before us
and traffic lights changed for no one but the squirrels.

Our neighbors who walked past us became celebrities
as we rushed to the window to wave.
Savoring a moment of socialization
we rode that joy for days.
A family walk around the block was an event.
It was calendar worthy.
It became a scavenger hunt for signs of well wishes and friends who we desperately missed.

Silently now
an early morning spectacle of fog creeps onto my landscape
a dim light reluctant to pass the night to dawn.
I stretch
and prepare myself for a repeat of yesterday’s uncertainty.
My cardinal sings in solidarity
as we soldier on into this gift of one more day.

Karen Smith

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