Wondering

Imagination can only go so far, and
promises cannot be kept when
uncertainty reigns supreme.

So I sit, and wonder;
what do you think of me?
Will it change when we can
be together?
When we are able to
touch more than the
synthetic screens of our phones.

The tempting thought of
holding your hand,
feeling skin on skin,
now made taboo by this
vicious virus.

This quarantine has isolated any
chance of certainty;
for now.
So I will continue to relish any contact,
even if it’s just a text from you, or
a digital duet and
time with your face.

by Erik Shinker

The Tales We’ll Tell

When this is all over,
like the trifling troubles of our early days;
when the quarantines are lifted and
we can once again be social without distance,
when Covid-19 has become a boogeyman of legend,
we will have to tell
those who have yet to come
what happened.

Where we focus our stories will guide the narrative.
Will it be the overused, extreme adjectives
pushed by the press?
Uncertain, unprecedented, shocking.
Will it be based on the buzzwords?
Pandemic, quarantine, market loss, layoff.

Or will we tell tales of care for one another?
Empathy empowering each other.
Of distilleries pivoting production to provide
hand sanitizer for first-responders.
Of the medical professionals who
accept the risk and put the care of
others before themselves
despite the exhausting toll of exposed hours.

Of the small sacrifices we made to
ensure the health of those around us.
Of the games we played and the
daily distractions enabling us to endure our isolation.
Of the resilience of the human spirit, and
its ability to adapt and overcome to create
a new normal.

When we describe this time to the next generation,
there will be one simple, but difficult question to answer;
not “What happened?”, but
“Did we learn anything from it?”

by Erik Shinker

If You Asked for a Poem

If you asked for a poem,
what would I write about?

My feelings for you,
the way your smile spreads to
emphasize the beauty in your eyes.
The thought of your soft lips
pressed, in passion, to mine.
The feel of wrapping you in my arms,
warmed to the point of melting.

Or my disdain for our separation,
forcing anti-contact and the inability to
be together.
But that would just be
fruitless repetition; raging at
circumstance and wishing for respite.

I would ask for your patience,
for my own,
and for us to work together to make
the best of our time apart.
Invest in speaking with
each other, learning about
one another, and
spending the currency of our mortal selves.

There will be an
even greater return when we can
stand, hand in hand,
and feel the warmth of
our shared smiles.

by Erik Shinker

Fear

A storm cloud lumbers over those
self-isolated.
Thunderheads gather in ominous clumps;
the lack of information, or
too much at once,
can cripple all the same.

Selfishness exacerbates;
hoarding in misled preservation,
shortages that people tried to avoid are
instead caused by their own actions.
Medical and health professionals, fighting on the front lines,
are left vulnerable by the very
patients they protect.

But one day this storm will break, and
we will reflect,
hoping we learned something to
improve our response when
this happens again.
If we don’t, that is something
far more worthy of fear
than any virus.

by Erik Shinker

 

For more information on how to help stop the spread, please visit the links below:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organization