This Past Year

By Diana Howard

There was light in the dark.
A slight spark parked itself
among us illuminating the idea
that good can come from shadows,
reminding us of what we
needed to fight for.

We couldn’t trust the air.
We toughened our resolve.
As the dark deepened
at a frightening, deadly pace,
we blew long and hard
every day – fanning
the precious flame.

We lost sleep.
We lost peace.
Our bodies were tense.
We yelled at the television.
We stopped watching.
We couldn’t stop watching.
We went for walks.
We played golf.
We watched 12 British
detective series.
We used one tank of gasoline
for the whole year
one tank…

We hugged and hugged some more
but only each other — no one else.
We wore masks that covered
our nose and mouth.
One was black. One was folded blue.
One was decorated with lilies.
One said Humana Insurance.

It was hard to walk 4 miles
wearing a mask.
It was hard to understand
what people were saying when
their words had to penetrate
layers of tightly woven cloth.

This past year we witnessed
fissures spreading our country apart.
Deep and hungry to devour,
they housed the makings of anarchy.
They stoked mistruths and fear.

In the years to come, we will need
wisdom, truth, tolerance, forgiveness.
The virus had only one of those
things. It was all it promised to be
and more. We should have done
better yet we did more than
we ever thought we could.

Writing during this past year has been, at times sparse, yet at other times almost non-stop. I wrote two poems about “air” and several poems about “grief”. I took two 5 week poetry writing courses from the University of Iowa on zoom with 9 other poets from around the country. I loved what I learned, I loved the feedback I received and most of all, I loved the connection with other poets. 

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8 months ago

thank you for using “we” to express the anonymous mutual experience of all humans this year, recognizing that we are all in the boat, now and forever.

Leigh Anne Kranz
Leigh Anne Kranz
8 months ago

We couldn’t trust the air.”

“We should have done
better yet we did more than
we ever thought we could.”

Your poem, these lines resonated with me. Lovely piece.

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