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Friday, April 10, 2020


by Tricia Knoll

I forget the name of the first boy who kissed me,
which books I read by Jane Austen during that summer
the l7-year locusts made their outbreak, the names
of most of the horses I’ve ridden except for Daisy—
the bay mare who galloped me to a win in a quarter-mile
race against a field of adolescents on dude ranch mounts.
I remember ear infections as a child with no medicines
because my parents believed in faith healing.
I remember my first polio shot at the age of 18, more
than a decade after everyone I knew had theirs.

Forgotten? The word, sir, blasphemes the dead
and those denied funerals and family mourning.
Those struggling to recover and keep family safe.
The worn out first responders and medical teams.
I fear for a grandson born in this year, a wee boy
for whom immunity is uncertain. I have staged
my will where my family can find it. I have
family who sit home from their jobs. We know
those risks for people of color from old,
old inequities, wonder why those who jobs
are critical to our survival as a people
work for minimum wage, without masks.

You may forget. At your peril and ours.
Are you counting your investments
in the medicine you hawk? Open
will not mean the way the world was.
Open will mean masks, tests, shots,
sanitizers, worry, strategies, research,
and consequences. New normal
will not forget what we have endured
and what we learn about the way
the world’s fate is tied up as one.
We have seen our Enemy.

Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet hunkered in the deep woods. Her recent collection How I Learned To Be White received the 2018 Indie Book Award for Motivational Poetry.