While he sleeps,

Liza Wolff-Francis

I sit in the dark of morning, inhale
the sacred silence that comes between

his breaths like a tiptoe. My body balances
on the edge of the bed as if it was to decide

which day to climb out of. His breath, even
and pacing, as if it were the day moving

through itself and an occasional animal sound,
a raccoon perhaps, a squirrel, a dog, a bear.

My bear behind me, vulnerable like all
that would kill us is far from here, far from us.

My prayers that it will stay that way hover
at the floorboard cracks, like a spell of salt

and peppermint oil to keep away dark shadows,
politicians in their masks, the America

I criticize and want to be different. Only all that I love
here in the dark right at my fingertips, holding up

the droop of my breasts, the bend of my toes,
the wild of my hair. While you sleep, the air

holds me in its dying night and I wait to remember
myself, all skin and bone, in the coming light.

Reawaken & Stay

Emily Bjustrom

At Dawn I could be anywhere:
on the edge of my desk,
talking about
what it means to be a Mountain.

I’ve sat the Dawn on Mountains and Beaches.
Alone in a New Light,
I too am Aflame,
burning paper Bridges.

Between people
bridges connect as much as they separate.

When you make a promise you should keep it.
I am nothing without my word.

The Dawn is a cold fire,
the Dawn is a Promise,
unshakable in its certainty.

This moment
like everyone before it
sparks and catches.

Day 9

It’s been rainy for days

(or cloudy, or rainy then cloudy, then rainy and so forth).

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

R.E.M.’s song plays in my mind

over

and over

until my head literally aches,

until the news explodes

and anxiety turns to panic.

I can’t breathe!

Stop.

Inhale.

Exhale.

I can’t control this virus, which is infesting

our world like termites in drywall.

It is crumbling, the death toll is massive.

This pandemic is for the ages. History will learn

what to do, what not to do.

We can’t go outside. No parks, no stores, no school. No holding love ones.

My little boy sleeps in my California king size bed,

he is so tiny; his lips are fat. All I see is his newborn self.

In reality, he’s seven and big for his age.

Yesterday, he asked me, “How do I know if I have the virus?”

He says, matter-of-factly, “I asked Google, but she doesn’t know.”

I share, “You will have the worse cough of your life. Fever.”

“Don’t worry,” I say. “We are safe in our home.” (I hope, I say quiet in my mind).   

I remember when I nursed him, protected him in the cradle of my arms and breast.

I have an urge to do that now. Protect him.

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

This pandemic is an apocalypse. It is like a Ray Bradbury sci-fi short story.

Except, it is true. This pandemic. This virus.

Hunting us like night owls chasing mice.

Call it what you will: SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19. Coronavirus.

#corona

#Istayhomefor

#alltogether

#flattenthecurve

#invisibleenemy

In Italy, 4,825 deaths. The world over 10,000, and we are still counting.

From Wuhan, China, to New York City.

Every continent except Antarctic.

Run.

But where?

I pray for so many. Where to begin?

My family, friends, doctors, nurses, the sick, world leaders, the Pope…

I write/pray well into the night. The candle is burning low.

I have to wonder, is it the end of the world?

God, is it?

I wear my blue glass rosary around my neck.

It touches my skin all day. 24 hours a day.

I am in prayer. It gives me strength, comfort.

I pray in between sips of coffee, in the silence

of morning.

In the blackness of 6:45 a.m.

This is no spring.

It has been rainy for days.

When will the sun shine again?

I see the glimpse of rays peeking through the cottonwoods.

I see a rainbow,

in the sky.

In my son’s drawings.

I take solace that my family is home safe.

I see little moments of hope. I watch on the news for

little glimmers of hope of people singing on balconies,

people emerging from lockdowns in China to finally photograph nature again.

When the Sun truly rises, when the virus is defeated

(hopefully), life will still

be here. It will be different. But it will still be here.

Maybe, the world will hold hands again

in peace

and joy

and thanksgiving.

I can only imagine.

But I have to have hope.

We are all in this together.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

and I feel fine…

because I have hope. 

© Gina Marselle, March 22, 2020

9 days and counting…

Image taken by Gina Marselle from her car window using an iPhone 7 Plus, March 19, 2020