Where can one go amidst signs barring entry?
Ominous signs, they don’t post a sentry.
Perhaps one can sneak on tiptoe and peek
at the waves, the closed beach is what I seek,
just a look, a moment from car window but no,
the highway patrol shakes a finger, please go
home to your cats, or dog if you have one,
excursion cut short, their warnings have won.
Stop for some takeout, light supper might raise
my spirits, for burgers and French fries I crave,
but no, lines stretch out to the road, all the way—
so back to my kitchen, at home I must stay,
to watch movies, read books and play solitaire,
follow news, post on Facebook, my outings are rare.
When this is over and people are massing,
I won’t recognize the old friends I am passing,
for weeks under masks, I won’t know their faces;
I’ll look into their eyes, searching for traces
of illness, malaise—is it safe to be near you?
Media haunts my dreams, is any of it true?
Will life change completely, it may I fear,
signs barring entry, no beach for a year.
—Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH (formerly of Harvard)