• Mel Jones

Journaling, April 2020

In early days, in March,

his wife was sick.

He’s smart, he’d be safe.

But he wasn’t.

She recovered;

he died.

It didn’t feel real.

My sister was sick anyway.

Her test was negative.

She was worse,

then better.

At dawn, her daughter called,

gasping for air, she’s dead—

How can this be real?

The next day mom’s fever came—

and then faded.

She sounded small,

far away. Locked in.

None of us voiced

what we knew was coming—

couldn’t face that reality.

I taught Seamus Heaney’s Digging.

I’d be an orphan soon—

would I measure up?

The world outside remained

in denial. People died and

no beauty had been born.

It’s just terrible, Mr. Yeats.

But I’d find no refuge in rhymes.

In the span of a fortnight,

Friend, sister, mother:

they became vacant spaces

outside of memories

and mourning. Whispered about,

like lepers, with fear and aversion.


Wear masks.

Vote for change.

Wash your hands.

Dry your eyes—

none of us has the time to cry

soon enough, the reality will be,

we’ll all know someone who’s died.

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