Poem 17 (National Poetry Month): COVID-19

I considered titling this poem “Lasting Effects”, but I prefer the blatancy of this title instead.

COVID-19

By Michelle Garren Flye

Don’t do that, it will make you sick.

Don’t go out—don’t even try.

The virus is out there, it’s too quick,

You can’t outrun it, you can’t defy.

But what if it never ends?

What if we’re stuck this way?

There may be no amends

If the virus is here to stay.

Fear has found a place of assembly,

Even in the hearts of the brave.

Soldiers cannot fight this enemy,

And maybe there is nothing to save.

Maybe this is what we’ve earned

Through years of war and strife—

When we’ve never really learned

What’s important in life.

Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

Poem: Pandemic of the Head (with commentary)

Nature is not political. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

In truth, I feel we’ve all been denying truth and facts and science for so long in favor of what one political party or another says, I’m not certain we’re going to really get this pandemic thing until it smacks us in the face. And it’s a slow-moving thing that we’ve been misled about by the government that’s supposed to be looking out for us, so now that we’re told what’s actually happening and what needs to be done to stop it…nobody believes it. Even I—and I am far from a fact-denier—have a hard time believing it’s really so bad that restaurants need to close and kids shouldn’t have play dates. I still go into my store every day hoping it will be normal again. But it’s not. The little town I live in is spookily empty on these bright spring days.

And in spite of all that, it angers me to hear others make this political. The Democrats made it up, the media is whipping us into mass hysteria, it’s no worse than the flu. Yeah, I know it’s hard to accept, but this thing can kill you. And if not you, then someone you love. It’s the first true pandemic since the 1918 influenza epidemic which killed more people than World War I, and we’re still in the beginning stages of it. Denying it won’t stop it, any more than denying global warming will stop the seas’ rise.

That’s where we are right now. We have to make some tough decisions. Tough times are coming, and if history is any indicator, we most likely won’t learn anything from it.

Pandemic of the Head

By Michelle Garren Flye

It’s never happened before, so it can’t be happening—whoa!

Who can tell if this is the end of the world…or just for show?

Yet people sicken and die—but that happens every day.

How can we judge if it’s wrong to go this way?

Time to be responsible, that’s what you claim—

Have you no care for the pocketbooks you maim?

No parties left but political ones, and those you can’t attend.

Who will be left to pick up the pieces of what’s left in the end?

The sweep of a pen proclaims we must stay at home to work.

But what of those whose businesses can’t survive such torque?

Some will suffer more than others, of that there is no doubt.

The choice is simple—sickness and death is the only way out.

Shelter in place to protect the weak of our society.

Quarantine is a trial, but there’s nowhere left to flee.

No matter how this ends, both sides will declare tis what they said:

A pandemic like no other before…but it was all in your head.

Poem: All Right Again

Like a promise that we will truly be all right again, I found the first violet of spring today. Photo by Michelle Garren Flye

It’s so tempting to think everything’s fine. The kids are home from school, sure, but that’s happened before. They always go back. Downtown is mostly empty and the restaurants are all closed but hey, that happens whenever we get half an inch of snow or ice. And yeah, people are having to cancel dream vacations and the stock market is tanking, and nobody is going to parties or play dates or visiting grandparents…no, everything’s not fine.

Eventually it will be, though. We’ll pick up the pieces, but I think we’ll pick up a few other things at the same time. A new appreciation for a hug from a friend, for instance. Less reluctance to get up and take the kids to school in the morning. A newfound faith in life and whatever power has helped us get through it all.

Yes, eventually it will be all right again.

All Right Again

By Michelle Garren Flye

When we pick up the pieces again, what will find there?

Can we put them together the way they were,

Or will it become something wholly new?

For some will be missing, little pieces torn away.

Lost in the big picture of our new normalcy.

What will it be like, this mishmash of bits?

When we turn it shiny side up, will enough be left?

Or will the picture be distorted by what we lost?

Or maybe by what we added along the way.