The Sierra Club calendar lies open on my desk— a Sandhill crane and her chick opposite a page of lined empty spaces. On the Illustrated Rumi wall calendar, poems pour like a waterfall over vacant white squares below. I check my devices for digital markers— no dentist, no haircut, no Tai Chi class. April 2020—cancelled. This is a new classroom— new school, new teacher, new courses: Resting 101. Introduction to Mobile Banking. How to Read a Novel in the Middle of the Day. Patrick Stewart reads Shakespeare daily on Instagram (you have me at “Hi,” Sir Patrick). Billy Collins teaches poetry on Facebook. I read my grandchildren to sleep in Singapore every Thursday via Skype, twisting my body to hold a picture book in front of a tiny camera while trying to read, utterly distracted by the beauty of these small faces I hardly know. Ah, COVID calendar, in the beginning you looked anemic. Pallid. Listless. But now we know the truth— not for one second will we ever look back and pretend that you were empty.
Jennifer was runner-up and won a prize of $150. She is featured in our first official book publication, In the Quarantined Room: Reflections on the COVID-19 Experience in Indian River County, FL 2020. To find out more about the book and to purchase a copy, click here.