Saturday morning. Everything is blooming. Week two or three? Spring arrives in the midst of a plague. For the first time, the streets were empty when I took Gem out for her walk. People in NYC have been slow to conform to the practice of social distancing. I took to it right away (although a non-conformist by nature). Wearing my black mask, lined with a Hepa filter, a wool hat pulled down low, and my puffy coat with the hood up, I keep a distance of six feet or more from others. My scary protective ensemble helps me achieve it. I don’t want to be one of those people who suffocate, as their lungs give out, waiting for a bed in an overcrowded hospital. I’ve been in a New York hospital. It’s awful in the best of times. It must be a kind of hell now. I feel for the health-care workers. They are saints and heroes in any time.

Every day, I occupy myself: drink coffee, write, play music, read. I call my mother and we decide a topic for a poem to be written. Then we write our poems and send them to one another. I make a stuffed cat out of a sock (which Gem soon destroys) and wash everything: keys, debit card, hat, gloves, mask, Hepa filter. My groceries are being delivered but I always forget something, or the store is out of it. Oh! Birthday Oreos– amazing! A substitution for the chocolate biscuits I like. They are addictive.

Outside, my tree is turning that chartreuse green it does in the spring when it is full of buds. Birds are communicating in their birdsong language. Gem is asleep on the loveseat across from me. It’s quite lovely and peaceful here.

(Painting by Henri Matisse)

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