Thursday, April 9, 2020

This is Forty-Six

Every year I do a week-long unit of "age" poems with my students. They read several mentor texts, then write their own. I have several of my own on this blog. This year's poem is certainly a departure from the ones that came before. Here's hoping my poem for forty-seven will be similar to forty-five and before instead of this one.

This is Forty-Six
Barely two weeks after I turned forty-six
Life changed.
Conferences were cancelled,
As well as sporting events.
The governor announced
Schools would close.
At first for two weeks,
Then until April 30th.
At the time of the writing of this poem,
It is unknown if that will be extended.

Fear swarmed me.
Anxiety spiraled out of control.
This virus,
Changed everything.

I couldn’t go shopping 
without thinking it through.
We stocked up,
Trying to make less trips to the store.
Curbside shopping,
And dining,
Became the norm.

Before, I could see my parents,
My family,
My mom and dad,
Chris’s mom, 
Only across town, 
But now only seen through the computer screen
As we have regular Zoom calls.

My students,
Now taught online.
Reading a book aloud 
Without them gathered around,
Seems all-kinds of wrong.

And yet, 
This is forty-six.
Inside of the walls of my house,
I have what I need.
Chris is working from home.
The boys surface from their rooms
To run, 
To eat,
To visit, 
Then return to their online worlds
Where they can catch up with their friends.

I look at the calendar,
At blacked out events.
Track meets cancelled.
Appointments rescheduled for months down the line.
I wonder when life will ever return to normal,
And ask myself what normal is anyway.

One day we will leave our homes.
Businesses will reopen.
School classrooms will fill once again.
I will get to see my family,
And hug them tight.
Never again to take for granted
The joy to be found
In being together.

For now,
We shelter in place.
Working to flatten the curve.
In awe,
And filled with gratitude,
To all who are out there 
Keeping us safe.

This is forty-six.