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Tuesday, April 07, 2020


by Gary Rainford

Winterberry  Heights

“Good morning from isolation,” an angel from Winterberry
Heights PMs the caption and a pic of Bobbi because memory
care is locked down; residents are not testing positive for

Covin-19, so they want to keep the curve flat. “Laughter
is the best medicine,” captions the next pic, a few days later,
Bobbi laughing, hugging herself. After forty five minutes

on hold with the CDC, a caffeinated operator reads the same
script I had already read from their website. Did I answer your
questions, sir? she asks. Nope, I reply. What do you mean,

sir? She sounds hurt and offended. I asked for guidelines
about compassionate care visits at assisted living facilities, but
you read a soap opera about how the blahblahblah spreads

and the importance of blahblahblahing in place, which to me
translates as, Go fuck yourself. “Your mother is just fine,” says
the latest caption from Bobbi’s quarantined studio while her

toothless smirk remembers the 1950s, polio pandemic: sore
throats, fevers, headaches, respiratory infections, beaked face    
masks, nausea, fatigue, and fear spreading like the virus.

Author's Note: Maine Governor Janet Mills, like many governors across the country this week, ordered Shelter-in-Place measures for all non-essential activities.  My mother Bobbi is under hospice care, receiving doses of morphine daily, and now she will likely die without me, her only local family, at her side.

Author of Salty Liquor and Liner Notes Gary Rainford lives year-round on Swan's Island, Maine, with his wife and daughter. Gary's third book in progress is a verse novel that tells the story of his mother's dementia and Alzheimer's disease.