Funeral

To the young amongst me, I hope you are at my funeral

That is to say, I hope you outlive me and that I am worthy of being missed

I haven’t been a saint at all times but I was able to rein in my crazy before committing too heinous a crime

When homicidal or suicidal thoughts drop by to visit, I teach them how to meditate

I’ve solved problems creatively, which is to say, illegally

For the record, if I had a written record of my life I would burn it in order to boil a pot of tears for tea

I like a little salt on my sweet

Orderly

There was seemingly so much order in the house

I didn’t hear the echoes of screams or shouts
Silence deafened the din
The ticking clock was the only sound within
All those books lined up stoically on shelves
Couldn’t hold back his chaos from hell
Every room was clean and neat
Her living nightmare uncontained by crisp white sheets
Grandma, you lived with abuse all those years
Warrior-strong, I never saw your tears
Grandpa’s explosive anger was unjustified
You finally have peace now that he died
But you can’t turn back time
You can’t take back years of your life
From your struggle, I have learned
I depend on no man for what I earn
I prioritize how I feel inside
Over how others perceive my life
Spring cleaning starts in my mind
My relationships are full of ease, not strife
I know you had your reasons
And I thank you for your sacrifice
I honor you by living my best life

Corona

I wear my crown of martyrdom

On the front lines, yet still at the back of the testing line- haven’t been tested

I think of you, virus, though you do not think of me

Coronavirus, on the news
Coronavirus, in my body
Is the aching in my muscles and bones your calling card?
You desire to enter my cells, virus, as much as I long to keep you out
Together, yet separately, we hunger
You want to pick my lock, use my typewriter to transcribe your RNA, then mail your enveloped self-promoting propaganda air mail special to Hadestown.
Don’t bring me down on the way, I pray
Not like this, not today
My heart breaks to think of those who have lost their lives to you, and those who needlessly will still
My head is intoxicated with fear
You always seem too near
Perhaps we Americans deserve the repercussions of our recklessness
Though it is the innocent who pay, as usual
Another day deep
I march on with trembling hands and heavy feet
Tracking invisible mud out of the wards and onto the street
Ashamed to stay in the job I was fixing to quit anyway,
Ashamed to leave now and abandon my post
The war is on, dwarfing the existential crisis of living the life I want versus fulfilling my societal obligation
I am among the minority who have a medical education
Only in following my heart can I grow up at last, no longer a slave to the judgements of others who do not bear my burden
My mind’s liberation opens up like a blue sky
Back to here and now, overcast again
In clinic and in the hospital
I struggle to bring my heart into the mundane and mission-impossible tasks which overflow from one day to the next
Virus, I gaze at your storm clouds accumulating on the horizon, and feel small
I see your silver lining, as I am well practiced in finding positivity amidst disaster
You are rich in potential
Look at the way you are uniting humanity, virus
People are taking care of themselves and each other like never before
Practicing presence in hospital hallways and supermarket aisles, smiling shyly at each other from behind our suffocating masks
We are finally being mindful of our precious resources, thinking globally and acting locally for sustainable solutions
We are cultivating more community and camaraderie than we could ever quantify
Teamwork and solidarity are weaving our spirits more closely together even as the physical distance between our bodies grows
I take a step back to take in the beauty of the tapestry you wove, virus
You bring opportunity for innovation and flexibility, you demand it
Many of us no longer take life for granted
We are cleaning our hands as often as we always should have
People are being prioritized over profits as we focus on what is essential
We settle in, acknowledging at last that we are in the same boat
Living in unspoken gratitude for each day of health
Please don’t rock my boat too much, virus
Though you are armed with cunning skills
And you may bring about more positive change still
I plan to ride out this storm, though land is not in sight
Virus, perhaps you could rest tonight?
Virus, my type II pneumocytes are mine, my lungs are a celebration of life and you are not invited
I wind-down after another day on the front lines,
I give thanks to those who are doing their part in time
To those in the comfort of your own homes,
Please stay where you are, be satisfied
Coronavirus, we will destroy you with patience and ingenuity, with solidarity and community, with soap and water, and with love for one another