Poetry Drawer: Song of the Pandemic by Robert Demaree

Vocabulary new to us,
Unused for a hundred years:
Social distancing, flattening the curve.
Language borrowed from other calamities:
Shelter in place,
Hunkering down, ramping up.
Car parades, flyovers,
Fear,
Cable news
(Assault rifles in the state house).
Infrequent trips for groceries,
Masks, one-way aisles, empty shelves.
There are people taking risks
To provide even this
But others who ignore simple requests
For the common safety.
Seniors, their line spread about
The parking lot at Walmart, 
5:30 in the morning,
Hoping for toilet paper.
Martha and I converse
But not incessantly,
Companionable silences,
A sort of self-quarantine
We chose for ourselves
57 years ago.
Say it is not be heresy
To prefer meeting by Zoom,
To tire of hearing about
The new normal,
How we are all in this together.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

You can find more of Robert’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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