Life in the Time of Pandemic

Copyright© 2020 by Cheryl Batavia

Wildflowers found on a morning walk, photo by Cheryl Batavia

Life in the Time of Pandemic

People are dying
as I walk in the sunshine.
I follow the statistics every day.
Supermarket employees wearing
masks load groceries into my car.
At seventy, with several chronic
diseases, I am vulnerable.
My best contribution to the
general welfare is to stay home.

I watch the news
and witness the chaos:
doctors and nurses working
without adequate protection,
without needed equipment…
working overtime.
Patients in hallways,
bodies in refrigerator trucks.
Waves of infection sweeping
through nursing homes.

Information and misinformation
flooding TV and the internet.
Politicians on the news
pointing fingers, making promises.
Doctors contradicting each other.
Scientists racing to develop
new treatments, and vaccines.
Advertisements for vitamins and
supplements promising immunity.

Heroes sewing masks,
passing out hand sanitizer,
working in food pantries.
Heroes making donations,
delivering medicines and meals,
driving big rigs with little rest,
Survivors donating plasma with
antibodies to treat the sick.

Scallawags and scammers
trying to make a profit
from human misery and fear.
Protesters marching with angry signs,
ignoring social distancing.
They don’t want to stay at home
any longer or wear a mask.
They may not have any symptoms,
but might still be contagious.

Schools closed, students at home
getting education via computers.
Doctors treating patients remotely.
Delivery trucks everywhere,
leaving lifelines on doorsteps.
Families biking and walking in the
sunshine, waving to their neighbors.
Masked musicians on street corners
giving concerts to passersby.

Farmers plowing under crops
they can’t harvest or ship.
Milk dumped, chickens euthanized.
No meat, no eggs, no toilet paper
on grocery store shelves…
Supply chains broken.

Businesses closed,
some of them permanently.
Worst unemployment
since the Great Depression.
Stock markets erratic.
Stimulus funds issued
to fend off economic collapse.

Stores and businesses reopening
while the pandemic rages on.
Some say it’s too soon; new cases will
spike again, more people will die.

Pandora, of ancient myth, ignored
a warning and opened a box,
releasing diseases, destruction, and
misery into an unsuspecting world.
She closed the box…too late!
Then Pandora heard a tiny voice
coming from inside the box.
When she opened the box again…
Hope emerged!

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