Shelter in Place Poem, Day 1

I decided to write a long poem, a section or so each day, for the duration of Colorado’s shelter in place, which will last at least through April 11. Here’s day one.

COVOD-19, 2020

If you are reading this,

you are so far a survivor,

not only of the obvious virus

but also of whatever else it is you’ve survived

or are surviving, your own particular list

unique and distinct as your fingerprint.

Heartbreak, abuse, betrayal, deception.

You’ve been overlooked, underappreciated.

You’ve been silenced, made sad, flat-out bored.

The number of times you’ve been misunderstood

is almost as large as the number of times

you’ve misunderstood others. And you’ve survived

your own sins–think of the unspeakable things

you did in middle school. You’ve starved yourself,

sliced your own skin, made yourself sick

with numerous chemicals. Yet here you are in a year

that in our previous millennium was held up

so often as the hard-to-image, sparkling future:

2020.

Today the skies where I am are clear because

no one is driving their cars to the city.

The air is filled with the sound of invisible birds.

*

When we remember too clearly the dystopian novels we’ve read,

we wonder how far our instinct to survive

would endure. How long would I want to live

in a world where I must shoot

my neighbor-turned-intruder to protect

my box of uncooked pasta, my pound of rice?

I might choose to lay down and join my great-grandmother,

the orange cat, my grandmother, the let-go-of balloon.

Let me become a crow. Let me make a nest.

*

In my dream last night I became my daughter

on her first day of middle school, her-not-her,

trying to find my math class, deciding where to sit.

My locker combination was 22-2-32,

and I turned it a hundred times before I woke,

relieved, confused.  Was it my father or yours

who works construction and can’t stay home?

Was it my mother, or yours, whose housekeeping clients

cancel day after day without offering to pay?

Where does toilet paper come from?

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Shelter in Place Poem, Day 1

  1. Your poem describes some of the emotions and thoughts many of us are having right now . My hope is that we all tap strongly into our will to survive. I’m glad you are documenting this strange and trying time through poetry.

    Like

  2. Yes, Yes, Yes Sister. All of this.

    Ali Sweeney 303-881-1928 Pronouns: She/Her/Hers (Learn more about why pronouns are important here .)

    On Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 7:25 AM Kimberly O’Connor wrote:

    > oconnorkim posted: “I decided to write a long poem, a section or so each > day, for the duration of Colorado’s shelter in place, which will last at > least through April 11. Here’s day one. COVOD-19, 2020 If you are reading > this, you are so far a survivor, not only of the ob” >

    Like

  3. This is how I will get through the pandemic: YOUR POEMS.

    I am ridiculously lucky to know you.

    xo

    On Thu, Mar 26, 2020 at 7:25 AM Kimberly O’Connor wrote:

    > oconnorkim posted: “I decided to write a long poem, a section or so each > day, for the duration of Colorado’s shelter in place, which will last at > least through April 11. Here’s day one. COVOD-19, 2020 If you are reading > this, you are so far a survivor, not only of the ob” >

    Like

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