Love in the Time of COVID-19

I was driving yesterday. There are not many cars on the road in these days of quarantine. Suddenly, a SUV quickly came up to the rear of my car, swerved to the passing lane, and raced by me. I caught a quick glance of the driver and wondered where she could be heading so quickly at a time when everything has slowed down. Then I thought of one of my favorite pieces of literature, Love in the Time of Cholera, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This poem is the result. I share it not to make light of these very serious times, but recognizing that one of the ways we get through such times is acknowledging our full humanity, with all the complexity and beauty that entails. I share it along with a prayer for all to be healthy and whole, and in the hope that these days of “social distancing” will be filled with love.

Love in the Time of COVID-19
(with apologies to Marquez)

She drove past, easily
Triple the limit, affording me
Only a glance
Of her eyes – let’s say
Of her hands – flashing
Nails – I’m going to say
The color of sun-dappled
Rushing not to the grocery
For the last roll,
Not to the theater for
The last show,
Not to the
Diner for the last
(Go with me on this)
She careens toward
And the arms of her beloved,
Her breath catching at the thought
Of quiet,
Of the still night untroubled by
Fevered commerce,
Of time stretching out
For as long as the fever