Nineteen Ways of Looking at a Pandemic

By Dotty LeMieux

1.

the sound a boulder makes
before beginning
its deadly downhill
roll

2.

sunflowers
in their art deco vase
track time by the sun
so well you can set
your watch by it

3.

hush, don’t wake
the old man sleeping
on the park bench

4.

one purple crocus
in my weedy front yard

5.

hey, what do you think
you’re doing?
don’t you know
you can’t play basketball
without touching?

6.

I’m calling the police!

7.

rain in spurts
taunting us between
the times of quiet

8.

why does standing in line at Safeway
for an hour and a half
remind me of the drought years?

9.

they loosened EPA regulations
so people can get back to work
polluting again

10.

the police are too busy
confirming deaths
on park benches
to answer calls
about unsanctioned basketball
games in the park

11.

Presidential Press briefing —
I told him — don’t return
her phone call; she’s not
nice to me

12.

the boy in California
who died
when the clinic
refused him entry
no insurance

13.

in New York the first buds
of April break through
hoping for someone
to admire them

14.

They’re not doing the tests;
they said to come back later —
blind man in the park smoking

15.

I can smell his smoke

16.
  1. if you wonder where the homeless went
    when they kicked them
    out of the park
    just check the far side
    of the closed-down Community Center
17.

winter has been its own very long year
this year

18.

woman into phone, slumped
on the top step of her front porch —
they say the test won’t come back
for at least a week

19.

after all this,
spring

My work has appeared many in publications and three chapbooks, with a fourth due in December. I live and write in Northern California amid COVID extreme weather and wildfire.

I wrote 19 Ways of Looking at a Pandemic partly as (somewhat twisted) homage to Wallace Steven’s 13 Ways of Looking at  Blackbird and since it is COVID  19, the list of 19 ways to look at a pandemic just fell into place.  I’m sure there are many more.

www.dottylemieuxpoemsandmore.com

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Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
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Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer
19 days ago

levity and gravity woven together so well–thank you for these windows into what it is to be alive right now

Moira Garland
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1 month ago

I’ve always liked Wallace Stevens’ ’13 way’s… and this is a good riff on it. From the UK it’s interesting to see a US description of the pandemic.

Leanne
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Leanne
1 month ago

Love this! A clever way of looking at things!

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