To Write or Not to Write (NaPoWriMo 2020 – Day 28)

A poet friend says
she can’t write about the present situation,
and I see her point; she says
she may need some more time,
she’ll face the topic later, at a distance—
which sounds ironic, doesn’t it? Well, I
had also thought, at first, two months ago,
I’d hardly ever find a way to speak,
to spell out how unutterably
strange and new, and disconcerting,
and unheard of my new life was proving
in the times of a pandemic,
or how worried I might be…
But when you can’t leave home, and if you do,
you’ll wear a mask and avoid people,
then rush back home and change your clothes,
and wash your hands, and your first thought
is, Am I still safe?
and when the house turns into a school
by day, two teachers and a student
meeting more teachers and students
behind their screens? And when you start
to wonder when or if you’ll travel
again, and when the phone rings,
and they tell you one you know
is ill, and when you turn on the TV
and all you hear is numbers,
and what you see is people
wearing face masks, or maps
marked in red—Is there
anything different you can
think about? Can you escape
any reference at all
to this surreal, yet real dystopia
when you sit down to write?


Note: today’s prompt from was borrowed from the Emily Dickinson Museum; you may read it here. But I have written enough about memories this month, and I had already made up my mind about my theme for today—in any case, another theme that I have not been able to avoid this month.