The Weather in 2020

Laura Langley

On a scrap of paper in the archives is written
“I have forgotten my umbrella.”
Turns out, in a pandemic everyone,
not just the philosopher, is without.
These days, I slather antibacterial gel on my angry,
red, cracked hands every time I get in my car–
I never even used to own antibacterial gel.
These days, I pull clumsily-fitting, homemade masks
across my face to protect
their families
my family.
Every slight ache, scratch at the back of my throat,
heated moment has me Googling, yet again, the symptoms.
When Rachel had it (all alone in Mexico City–just her
and an ornery, orange cat) she only lost her sense of taste,
8 days, but what next? Is there a sequel to this horror?
So I
buy clothes that can withstand virus-killing high heat,
buy shoes that never see the inside of my home,
join book clubs to discuss our nation’s original sins,
buy more books than I have time to read to learn,
I pull the umbrella from under the backseat of my car,
So that I can meet my students at this moment.
A moment when the murder of yet another black man
in the name of law is a weekly occurrence.
A moment when leaders are living above the same laws
that keep so many in bondage.
And, also in this moment, I’m reminded that young folks
see and breathe truth.Young folks do not tolerate
what this country has passively accepted for 400 years.
We will get by. We will survive.

Note from Jamie about the poem: Inspired by Claudia Rankine’s “Weather”


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

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