Letter: Flattening the Curve (A Poem)

Letter to the Editor

I am sheltering at home, and social distancing

While daily walking with a mask upon my face.

ZOOM with children, grandkids, and friends, 

Stretch and lift weights while watching TV.


I neglected to adequately prepare for the lockdown,

So my cupboard, pantry, and fridge were soon bare.

AMAZON to the rescue: canned soup, fruit, vegetables,

OJ, frozen dinners, grains, cookies, and even bananas.


I now hang with a circle of new friends, albeit virtual:

The Brothers Cuomo, and the Doctors Fauci and Birx,

Also Gov. Newsom, Mayor Garcetti, Sanjay Gupta.

POTUS and Veep Pence, of course, are uninvited. 


OMIGOD!  Suicidal medical advice from Dr. Trump:

Intravenous Clorox, and gulp Lysol on the rocks.

Dispensing medical advice without a license

Has to be a “high crime and misdemeanor”


Though asymptomatic, I heeded the call and tested.

The drive-through jab up the nose was over quickly.

Negative result! So now I am one of the statistics

That, though oxymoronically, is flattening the curve.


A spate of rainy days that recently visited Malibu

Could have brought depression and cabin fever.

But it was avoided by TCM, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens,

Some lower brow writers, and by a few guilty TV pleasures.


But today hooray!  Sapphire sky, sparkling sea,

Flower-festooned bluff, lush lawn all beckoning me.

I quickly don the face mask and rush outside;

Free at last! Free at last! If I may quote MLK.


As I revel under fleecy clouds in the warm sun,

A huge delta of sea gulls magisterially sails by,

Emanating tranquility, dignity, and harmony.

Does it portend respite from COVID gloom?


One bird breaks free, and soars sunward,

Carving circles against an azure backdrop.

Then it banks and plummets seaward,

Its wings quivering as it gathers speed.


The descent abruptly arrests above the sea,

There turns to skim the cresting white caps.

I joyfully watch the silent impromptu show;

I hope it is seen by my fellow detainees.


Now the bird glides by bluff-high, pursuing the wind.

Turning skyward, its gamboling continues unabated.

This display of avian aerobatics fills me with joy.

I crane my neck at the zenith and following dive.


At the nadir, it banks and flies close above me.

I see downy underside and tiny tucked-in toes.

But then in an instant all goes awry:


I rush inside to wipe my eye and wash my mask.

Hank Pollard