Photo from “13 photos of New York City looking deserted as the city tries to limit the spread of the coronavirus”
Trigger Warning: This poem is about how Covid-19 is affecting our current way of life. There are some graphic images described in this piece. Please proceed with caution if you choose to read this poem. Be safe and healthy everyone.
Covid-19 in NY
New York was the city that never slept —
until February 2020.
Two hundred thousand ill, three thousand dead.
Only the children are safe from drowning.
No showtime on Broadway, nor on the trains.
Rockefeller! Fifth Avenue! Times Square!
All shuttered. Abandoned. Still — like a wake.
The planes are grounded. Poison in the air.
More unemployed since the Great Recession.
The future unclear. The future unsure.
How long until they start welding our doors?
Disinfect and bleach the trains! Bleach the floors!
In China, the infected dragged away,
captured with the same nets they use for strays.
All day long, we sing Happy Birthday.
Italy keeps their residents at bay
with flamethrowers while they sing from the windows.
All we see are eyes. Windows to the soul.
Shelves are empty, and the price gougers fat.
Our mothers are sewing surgical masks.
There aren’t enough vents, nor are there beds.
Our grandparents, dying alone in their beds.
CPR denied to cardiac arrests.
Central Park, Jacob Javits, Navy ships —
temporary hospitals for the sick.
Bodies are being cradled by fork lifts
instead of loving hands, loving arms.
We’ve gone through March.
We’re going through April.
Social distancing has banned funerals.
We pray the summer burns away the plague.
The number of cases swell with the days.
– Rachel R. Vasquez, March/April 2020
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Never have I wished to be farther from New York than now. I’ve lived here all of my life. 9/11 happened when I was in high school. This? I’ve never experienced anything like it in my lifetime. Some days I’m not sure how to cope, some days I’m inside trying to pretend this is just a really long staycation. The only thing I can do is take it day by day, and write. Hoping everyone stays safe out there.