Susan Ahlbrand

Alone in a full house
Still in a chaotic day
Haunted by the tickle of thought . . .
I become inspired by
a challenge
a mentor
an inspiration

by a strangerfriend

I put aside the needy students
I steal attention away from a house full of kids
I ignore my husband of 25 years
to prod my brain, my heart, my memories
for a creation in response.

Oddly, I open up to a room of strangers
sharing thoughts and feelings
that I wouldn’t share here in the home
where I am sheltered in place.

I am awed by the vulnerability others show
the raw sharing of abuse
the honest telling of fears
the open storytelling
the beautiful describing

with strangerfriends

I’ve often been skeptical of stories
of people finding “friends” online . . .
gaming, discussion boards, tinder.

Not anymore.

The safe culture
cultivating creativity and sharing
the honest, positive, specific feedback

from strangerfriends
in these uncertain times
full of anxiety and instability
void of connection and activity
the one constant has been

bringing comfort and wisdom
and inspiration and confidence
this room has been
cozier than being huddled up
under a fuzzy blanket on a couch.

I will forever be grateful
for the Godsend

of strangerfriends.


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Bridge the Distance: An Oral History of COVID-19 in Poems Copyright © 2021 by Susan Ahlbrand is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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