Life in the Time of Covid | F.I. Goldhaber

Normal Life

You have a nice home to shelter in,
food to eat, shows to stream, games to play.

You don't live with an abuser or
parents who misgender you; insist 
your orientation is sinful.

Yet you complain you're deprived of your
social life, restaurants, bars, park visits.

You don't need to risk your life and your 
loved ones for minimum wage
without protection, sick leave, health care.

You've enough to pay your bills; credit
cards to order online; connected
devices allowing well-paid work.

But you miss the ball games, parties
band performances, church services.

You don't shiver in the cold, snow, and 
rain under a tent if you're lucky, 
or just a cardboard box, or blanket.

If your throat is sore, your head feels hot, 
you can telephone your physician.

You don't have to stand in line for a 
clinic that sends you home when they run 
out of test kits. Or just keep working.

You know what the virus looks like, how 
to prevent exposure and illness.

You don't toil next to those who could be 
infected with no information 
how or supplies to protect yourself. 

You fret about event and concert
cancellations, missed graduations.

You don't worry about untreated
broken bones; forced sex without access 
to birth control; deadly pregnancy.

The only people desperate for 
life to return to normal are those
privileged to enjoy "normal" life.

First Published in CHAOS: A Poetry Vortex

Essential Services

In normal times (remember those?)
we buy most of our groceries
at the local Farmer's Market.

Pandemic panic makes shopping
dangerous, negotiating
grocery store aisles fraught with peril.

Local Farmer's Markets devised
plans to save growers, produce, those
who still want healthy, tasty food.

Many can't risk encounters with 
selfish, shoppers oblivious
to social distancing orders.

As food purveyors, the market
qualifies as an essential 
service, now safer than most.

Dedicated managers have
designed pre-ordering systems,
plotted lowest contact options.

No wandering to see what might 
be available. No metal 
carts requiring disinfectants.

Farmers survive. Food doesn't rot
in the field. Consumers thrive. Yet,
some demand markets terminate.

They claim violation of the
governor's stay-at-home orders
for all but essential outings.

Demonstrating how in normal 
times Farmers Markets serve many 
purposes beyond food exchange.

Folks gather to catch up with their 
neighbors, listen to music, eat 
and drink with friends and family.

But for us and others, markets
are just a source of fresh produce,
meat, milk, bread, occasional treats.

Altered Farmers Markets permit
healthier quarantine eating
and ensure small farmers survive.

Those who come to hear music, dine 
al fresco, gossip with friends can 
return when quarrantine's lifted.

First Published in CHAOS: A Poetry Vortex

Times that Try

These times try our souls in the court of adversity
as a global pandemic reveals our true natures.

Some reached out, helped where they could: providing free lunch
to students who only eat at school; running errands 
for home-bound, frightened seniors; donating needed funds, 
supplies, masks; offering amusements, delivery.

Buying gift cards and meals to donate and deliver
to health care workers, helping struggling restaurants 
while thanking those risking their lives serving every day.

But, scammers, hackers, bankers, politicians only
saw an opportunity for profit. Dumping stock;
gouging prices; forcing employees to risk their health;
sacrificing a thousand lives for a market bump.

Taking advice from Wall Street instead of doctors and 
scientists; refusing to lock down and prevent the 
viral spread; delaying tests in search of more profits;
denying sick leave, health care; bailing out megacorps.

Partying on the beach rather than forgo spring break 
festivities; gathering at clubs and restaurants;
choosing to endanger the old and vulnerable,
unwilling to make sacrifices for common good.

Demanding at-risk employees return to work in 
hospitals; abandoning the innocent in care 
facilities; ignoring risks to immigrants in 
concentration camps, POC in profit prisons.

Maliciously pushing harmful snake oil, defective 
supplies; stealing tips from those who deliver; coughing 
on bus drivers; licking groceries, parcels, door knobs.

Ammosexuals gathering on state capitol 
steps -- armed with automatic weapons, racism, white 
supremacy -- threatening those trying to protect
the lives of everyone except the imprisoned.

The trial of souls in the court of adversity and
so many failed to exhibit basic compassion.

First published in As the World Burns, Writers and Artists Reflect on a World Gone Mad

©2021 F. I. Goldhaber
All rights reserved


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