Joan Hofmann

In the Time of Pandemic

I was born and raised and created generations.
I love and so it’s said that I accept the rites of grief.
And what is it that I grieve in this time?
Loss, loss, and more loss.
Loss of lives, so many lives.
Loss of choice to go where and when I want,
as my will decides. What woman wouldn’t grieve this?
Loss of the choices I’ve known—
food, clothing, companionship.
Being an elder preyed on by a virus, loss
of vigor, joy, ability to swim, dance, fly kites, climb
to vistas of creped mountains, verdant valleys.
And, dare I say it? Loss of the very life I love.
Sheltered in solitude, loss of presence of family.
Loss of touch, fondling, laughter, embrace.
Loss of intimacy. No, it doesn’t stop there.
Now we’ve arrived at my fear: loss of desire.
Imagine. It could come to this. In all of the confusion,
crises, half-truths, omissions, crimes, mistakes and
outright lies, what if suspicion prevails?
Desire atrophies? Intimacy devolves?
The tattered cloth fissures and frays–
What if it tears apart irreparably?

Joan Hofmann is Professor Emerita at the University of Saint Joseph, serves on the Executive Board of Riverwood Poetry and was the first Poet Laureate of Canton, CT. Her poems have been or are forthcoming in various anthologies and journals, including Guilford Poetry Guild Anthology, Forgotten Women, Waking Up to the Earth, Concho River Review, The Tiger Moth Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, The Wayfarer, Rumble Fish Quarterly, Juniper, Bird’s Thumb, Spaces, Englyn, SLANT, Plainsongs, Vita Brevis, Plum Tree Tavern, Caduceus and Freshwater, and in three chapbooks: Coming Back (2014), Alive (2017) and Alive, Too (2019). A retired educator, she is a lover of the natural world, and frequent traveler, (pre/post-pandemic) when not walking or hiking near her home on the Farmington River.