Sunday, April 19, 2020

Poem During the Plague: Poem 15

Sara Letourneau

Sara Letourneau is a poet, freelance editor, and writing coach. Her poems have appeared in Mass Poetry's Poem of the MomentGolden Walkman MagazineThe AuroreanSoul-LitThe Bookends ReviewThe Avocet, and elsewhere. She lives in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where she reads her work at open mic nights, roams the beaches of Cape Cod, and can frequently be found with a journal and a cup of tea. Learn more about how Sara can help you with your writing at, and read more of her poetry at  

A Strange Easter

It’s Easter Sunday, and I’m alone
in my dining room, Skyping with my parents
and my brother over orange juice, black tea,
and raisin bran with strawberries.
It’s nothing like the homemade carrot muffins
or German apple pancake we’d eat together
in Mom and Dad’s breakfast room during Easters past,
when it was safe for us to visit.
But this year, safe means washing hands constantly,
covering one’s mouth and nose in public,
and standing six feet away from each other.
This year, in the time of COVID-19, safe means
staying home, seventy miles away from my family.

Our conversation goes as usual:
How are you doing?
I’m feeling well. You?
Same here.
The rest is nothing new, either:
Mom and Dad’s projects around the house,
my brother’s upcoming (virtual) closing on his condo,
my freelance editing work,
the first daffodils to bloom in our yards.
Yet this semblance of routine is punctuated
by reminders of life upheaved:
Did you wear your face mask at the grocery story?
We’ll leave takeout for you by the garage door.
Will we get to celebrate Mother’s Day together?

And all the while, I wonder if I lied.
I may be feeling well, but my longing to reach
through the laptop screen and hug my father,
kiss my mother, and riffle my brother’s hair
pulls like a sore muscle.
Before I know it, the past rolls off my tongue:
Remember when we were kids
and we’d come downstairs on Easter morning
and read the Easter Bunny’s message, spelled out
in fridge magnets, then hunt for the exact number
of chocolate eggs mentioned in that note?

My brother chuckles, says, Yeah, I remember that.
So do Mom and Dad, and the reminiscing resumes.
And for a moment, the holiday returns to its jovial,
pastel self. Yes, it’s a strange Easter,
the distance between me and them hasn’t changed,
but we’re together in our mirth,
together in our remembrances,
together in the tender ache for what was

and our gratitude for what still is.

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