Pandemic Poem #27

This one came after I returned home from a walk and found myself crying because the dogs at the park were so confused and sad that their usual walks weren’t so usual. It reminds me that as hard as sequestering is for humans, how much worse would it be if we didn’t know it’s temporary, hadn’t the reason to understand why?

(Reading tip: if you are reading this on your phone screen, turning the screen sideways will result in a correct placement of each line; otherwise, they are broken up in unusual and not especially poetic fashion.)

 

Lines for the Very Good Bois on their Walks

In the park today, giving wide berth on the trails
to the handful of others out braving the chill
and rain, I couldn’t help but note the heartbreak
in the eyes of the dogs on their daily walks,
so accustomed to a series of pats and pets,
a litany of aren’t you a sweetie-pie and you’re so
handsome and who’s a good boy? and who’s a 
good girl? from all who pass by; I marked in each
a dawning awareness that things have changed,
the brief hesitation in their form before they
hopefully, wistfully stepped toward me, to be
gently jerked back each time by their owners:
No, no, we have to keep social distance.
Perhaps I am foolish, but I did shed tears for
those very good bois and girls who miss our touch,
the casual contact, usual hugs, wonted affection
of friends and acquaintances as much as we do,
but cannot like us understand why they have halted,
Or that it is temporary and not a permanent loss–
I hope they are getting extra treats and pats at home.

 

(Originally written 4/16/2020)

 

I invite those who are also writing creatively in response to the pandemic to share their words in the comments below. I am sharing the “poem-a-day” on Instagram and Twitter, as well; follow me @mridleyelmes !

About Melissa Ridley Elmes

Professor and writer; Unrepentant nerd; chaotic good. Author of Arthurian Things: A Collection of Poems. PhD, MFA. She/hers. Views my own.
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