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Poetry in the Time of Corona

Church Bells

Babies born, church bells ring,
People die, church bells ring,
Time of peace, time of war,

Sunday comes, church bells ring;
Nothing stops them even
If gatherings are not allowed,

If only an occasional person
Walks the urban, suburban
And rural streets, which look like

A ghost town in a Western with
No sagebrush to be seen.
Even if sermons go online

And orchestras use Zoom to
Play together because they
Cannot unite in one room,

Church bells ring through everything,
Singing the song that we no
Longer have the words to sing.

Temporary Hospital

Here where conventions
And trade shows took place,
Where business cards and

Business were the norm, soldiers
Go to battle against coronavirus
The way they do after hurricanes,

Not bombing, but building
A pop-up hospital in a convention
Center, setting up rows of temporary

Rooms as the corps that built
The Panama Canal and the Pentagon,
Designed and constructed the

Washington Monument, put up
A portable hospital with cots and
Chairs, a plant on a round table

And a clipboard in a city within a
City designed to help thousands
Recover and reroute citizens

To take their place again in the
Fragile puzzle of civilization.

Flatten the Curve

Signs and speakers shout
“Flatten the curve”
And suddenly this

Language fills the landscape
As we watch a graph
Define our world

Where a slight slant
Is the difference between
Life and death and

A line like a rocket
Rises until we can
Deprive it of the fuel

Of human life as gravity
Grabs and wrestles
Geometry to the ground

So we can appreciate
The gentle, reassuring
Curve of the earth.

All poems by Claude Solnik.

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