A padlock on a fence gate

COVID-19: A Poem

April is National Poetry Month. We are honored to share this poem by Rayna Momen, current board member and long-time volunteer at APBP.



I broke up with my clippers
the day the virus became
reason to sink into new world mode,

before stay-at-home orders
before mandatory masks
before gloved hands
before shortage
of toilet paper, of sanitizer, of ventilator, of hospital beds, of rooms at the morgue, of tests

before Zoom bombs
before schools closed
before adult beverages could be delivered, could become essential, could be horded,
could be limited, could be precious commodity,

before social distancing
before tiger king,

I no longer remember anything
before COVID-19.


I still shower and write and
earn a living behind a Mac
in a home office
I could draw in my sleep.

I see humans in Zoom, in Teams, in FaceTime.

The fake owls on my wall are famous.

My heart aches for family
just miles away and yet
six feet is too far.

I remember how to drive
but there’s nowhere to travel,
the gas tank full for weeks.

I hear the price per gallon is
low enough to appreciate
but pointless to ponder
when your garage door doesn’t open
because you live in a box.

Your birthday came and went
and it wasn’t until
you filled out an online survey
that you remembered
you had turned 42,

and your friends in prison
on stationary cruise ships
are virus in a Petri dish

are dying inside.

4.8.20 – Rayna Momen

As part of our efforts to send free books to people in prison and to celebrate the power of poetry, we have partnered with WordPlay to create a wish list of poetry books. To support our work, please consider purchasing a book of poetry and donating it to APBP.

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