Paul MarianiFebruary 03, 2021

Lord, how is it this Corona Covid nightmare
still chews up half the news night after night,
as exhausted doctors plead with us to stay
at home? How is it those beds in the makeshift
ICUs keep filling up and up and up
until exhausted nurses keel over with fatigue
or (worse) succumb themselves, and the numbers
of the dead multiply then rise and rise again?

Oh, dear God, please help us. Please save us
if it is your will. Or at least help us better
understand what this thing is really all about.
What is it you want us to take away from this,
as the coffins keep piling up in tents and makeshift
plywood corridors? We read the sacred texts
and history books, searching the past and those plagues
of yesteryear for what they have to tell us now.

And still, still, here we are, a year into
all of this and, despite news of this vaccine
and that and of more to come, with all those vials
swarming beelike off those cold steel counters
and those Fed-Ex trucks leaving docks and racing off
with police escorts somewhere to the rescue (though not
anywhere, it seems, near here), still we hold out hope
that light (mehr licht!) will come again. And soon.

But will it? And as the days and months roll on,
and one tenth of the promised number get their shots
and the news goes burbling on, we ponder what
the new normal will look like down the line.
Still, the restaurants stay closed, along with all
those gathering places—bars, gyms, even schools
and churches—and as we choke our words through masks,
we plead, dear Lord: what shall we take away from this?

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