Alphabetic Exploration of a Virus

Last weekend a friend and colleague who teaches Creative Writing sent me a challenge:  write a poem where each line begins with the letters of the alphabet in succession. Back in my teen angst poetry writing days, I did something similar as a dedication to a good friend. It rhymed, was full of goofy inside jokes, and had the sappiest ending:

Y is for You at Cornell in “Vet style”
Z is for NaZ where I’m missing your smile

When I sat down to write the abc poem last weekend, I knew it had to address what’s been going on in the world — the dark, hopelessness we are all feeling. The uncertainty of each day, of what the future holds. Here is what I came up with:

Alphabetic Exploration of a Virus

Alone. The only way to
be safe, to stop the
contagion.

Don’t trust your neighbors.

Everyone is at risk
as we are all
forced inside.

Gone are feelings of
HOPE.

Instead we
journal our deepest fears,
keep our
loved ones distant, hold onto
memories like moments that may
never happen again.

Once upon a future,
when the danger has
passed, when the
quiet streets
return to their
steady pulse of life, only
then will we
understand how deeply the
virus changed us.

Humans full of
worry, a global community turned
xenophobic.

Can our
youth—the risk-taking Generation
Z—help us rebuild?

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