Special Issue: COVID Stories


Covid Stories: April-May 2020

This collection reflects a moment in history. Anxiety, shock, gratitude, fear, restlessness, determination. Reading these stories even a few months later, we realize how much we didn't know, how we made things up as we went along.

For My Sister in her PPE

Recently, a memory of you, asleep / beside me in the wide bed / in Haileybury, your black / hair fanned out on the pillow / like a split seed. / Do you remember / that house? Where we found the trunk in the attic, full of fancy clothes....

Loss and Love in the Time of Covid

Evenings of board games and laughter, intellectual discussions over dinner, days of drifting from reading to knitting to cooking elaborate meals and baking beautiful bread. Walks in the woods with my dog....

grasp-less

the capsized cling to laptops / bottom lines sink / will you fast with me? / eat freedom / grasp-less embodiment / grief release my child / birthed spirit / walk decades undead / here I remain, expanded / midwife ush-plush-usher

In the Year

In the year 20/20 our vision cleared. The fog of hedonistic narcissism that had covered the earth during the last century lifted with an unprecedented suddenness. Robed gladiators donned their masks and shields, and their gloves came on....

Today

One Day, elbows will nudge in darkened theatres. One Day, voices will harmonize with fingers interlocked. One Day, sweet smiles will follow “sorry” when strangers collide. One Day, arms will wrap lost warmth tightly, unapologetically. Today: I long for One Day.

Email: Covid-19

I'm at home sick, thinking it is just a cold, watching the coronavirus count, but also trying to watch lighter things on Netflix when I can, and planning the garden for the farm this summer. Extra rows of potatoes and carrots and beets for the Food Bank.

Friday

We hear of the death of a man. / By key stroke. Counting / Another number. This could be you. / This could be me. / We hide the death of a child. / Deep in the womb. Living / Uneasy. Murdering easy. / Handful of shining clink.

I Took It All For Granted

Life as a university student is an absolute, never sleeping, always studying, where is my caffeine, level of chaos. As a first-year university student, adjusting to this lifestyle was much more difficult than I had first thought.

Given the Circumstances

we all say now, in light of, as well / as can be, strange days, these / times. / The universe / has no short-term memory. / Each morning we have the grief- / work / of reminding the ravens, / the buried moles of our / losses /

The Idea for this Novel

Came to me out of the blue--No / When the news reported that drones / Would be delivering Amazon packages / I thought about the spread / Of dinners, care packages and / Toiletries--No / Need to ever to get a drivers license, I think....

The Pandemic

His very darkest brown eyes sparkled and were so vibrant in contrast to his blond, prairie-field fluffy head of hair flowing freely in the wind. His eyes jumped with the excitement he carried in his nine-year-old body.

Creatures, already dead, come here

One is my mother. Her smile a Siamese cat’s -- / her ears sharp and tail proud as she blinks a wise-eyed stare. / One is a dead poet I love. His appearance wakes me / inside the dream I’m dreaming. I panic that he has died, /

Done Here

Small the changes we made / to the yard from last / spring to this. Shrubs / mainly, a path, a deck. / But we must have changed / the northwest passage / around the house for today / the strong wind, soothing /

What I Do and Don’t Miss

After Nora Ephron’s “What I’ll miss, what I won’t miss" What I Don’t Miss Traffic Chauvinism Mall noise Parking meters Public restrooms Small talk What I Do Miss Sparring New book smell Textures Specialty tea stores The family cat Hugs

Self-isolation with universe

Sincere desire: to call / today the worst birthday / but I don’t care. / The cat is all now you know / how it feels. House finches / swing on the feeder, / chuffed to see me / behind glass. My sincere desire / is to record a teaching video. /

Hydroxychloroquine?

My COVID-19 adventure began on March 13th around 3:30 in the afternoon. I was standing in a grocery store loading a weekend’s worth of groceries onto a conveyor belt. Then there was a “ding” from the pocket of a woman ahead of me.

It’s My Privilege

I’m a social, organized, life-long learner. This has always served me well and particularly does so now. For example, I belong to a Bridge Club. It’s a retirement plan to keep my brain active. The also allows my husband and me to interact with humans....

Standard Tuning for Social Isolation

Shut indoors in the middle of a pandemic / you would think it would be quiet / but my two young children are yelling over nothing/the phone is ringing with relatives / updates from the school board / conference calls I can’t bear to pay attention to /

Enclosure

I’ve been writing, / reflecting in my journal / and thinking just what you asked: / Why does this / feel different from the / already self / isolated state we live in? / The closest I’ve come to it is a feeling that’s like those / wire-framed screen covers

Come So Far

Little Covie (may I call you that?) / doing what you've done since / the beginning -- begetting and begetting / in biblical proportion, as though / there were no tomorrow, surviving /as we wear you to the mall.

In These Times

and in these times, / I focus on the birds, the chirps, the helicopter thrum of wings / the gossip high in the bare branches / trees waiting for pips to become a blush of early green at dawn they branch like the lobes of lungs

In Alight of Covid-19

T’was the beginning of 2020, we thought we were all free / Christmas just ended, but there’s still time for a spree / It’s the new year, a new decade, forget the black past / but who knew COVID-19 would hit just as fast /

Infection

Scalp, corset-tight; / muscles screech / against my bones / Flock of geese / in my chest / Map of the world with its new / and jarring colors — / I avoid the mental math. / Toxic thoughts, throat-choke fears / spinning out / My mother’s lungs — Weary as old dish rags.

Pulling Together

I wakened Tuesday as most everyone did, dreading what news the day might bring about COVID-19. What I didn’t expect was to find a small but definite lump in my breast as I casually brushed my hand over my left side.

Covid-19 Painting Project

After hearing from friends living in Italy who are still suffering from an extended period of intense fear, sadness, and extreme cabin fever, the many works of art that I’ve produced lately reflect my attempts at keeping my own dark thoughts, worries, and ruminations at bay.

When Everyone Is Panicking

I am afraid of everything: spiders, public speaking, my furnace exploding, living on the first floor of an apartment building, being late, sleeping, needles, walking home alone at night, job interviews, first dates, fifth dates....

South of the Border

My car sits idle in the driveway of my parents’ house, spring pollen coating it undisturbed. I have not left for more than a bike ride since March ground to a halt, and I’m one of the lucky ones. Lucky that I’m not required to risk my life at work.

Unschooled: Guelph, March 23

The school, emptied / goes silently blind, each window dark / under clouds, an unseeing eye / chilled grey / in the yard, hard brown bricks / hold fast / to the bolts / of a basketball hoop / no bells ring, no children cascade /

Bittersweet Lament

Nightmares 3 nights in a row / Nowhere I can go / Will temptation overcome / Self-isolation / God is with me / But is it God’s timing / A personal 9/11 / Has become public / It has been a winter of / Stocking up / Snowed ins / Falls / Study deadlines

Things I Never Thought I’d Say

1. “Don’t touch my face, don’t touch my face.” Repeating the mantra when the wind blows my hair in my eyes. 2. When I hear the front door open, “Strip, take off your clothes. Wash your hands.” 3. “OMG, I’d hate to be on that cruise!”

Three Haiku

Today’s sum twenty / Eight thousand and two hundred / Forty-four ascents. // Sun sears fishbone sky / Cloudbursts pierce quicksilver hems / Earth inhales exhales. // White noise lie in state / Silent sky and interstate / Doves know no borders.

Diago’s Dark Waters

On our tour of the Rio Negro, while the boat / putters across its strong-tea waters / local guide, Diago adds colour commentary / in addition to the construction genius of a bridge / over 2 miles long with 246 supporting columns, he adds / that each month 24 people plummet to death from it

An Unexpected Delivery

A package arrived yesterday afternoon via UPS, just as John was taking Rudi, our little dachsie, out for a pee. Well, bedlam ensued. Rudi and I were squeezed in the storm porch between open doors.

Falling in a Pandemic

Yesterday, I saw a woman fall and everything changed. I decided to go for a drive with my dog, Bella. Roll the windows down so she could take in the scents of another neighbourhood. I just wanted to drive. No music, no inspirational podcasts....

Grandparenting in Covid-19

Precious days lost / Will I miss her first steps? / Daily photos and videos help / But I can’t touch her soft skin / Pat her round belly / Inhale her baby scent / FaceTime becomes “Story Time with Grandma” / She reaches out to touch my face

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