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Monday, August 03, 2020


by Ann E. Wallace

New Jersey’s virus transmission rate jumped to 1.35 and Governor Phil Murphy warned of rising cases due to a lack of compliance with mask and social distancing rules. The state, where cases peaked months ago, is in “a very dangerous place,” Murphy said at a Trenton news conference. Photographer: Michael Mancuso/Pool via Getty Images —Bloomberg News, August 1, 2020

We are standing 
in a very dangerous place
calling the children to peer over the edge
of the precipice
as if it is a class trip
to the Grand Canyon.

We call out be safe,
don’t go too far,
but also 
don’t lag,
you need to be here,
we are here because of you
Yet we know 
that when one falls, 
perhaps we, 
will follow, 
linked arm 
to arm 
like a barrel
of plastic monkeys
over the edge.

And though many 
will break free,
catch themselves
on ledges and climb up 
battered, bruised, 
to laugh at the close 
call or scoff 
that it was nothing, 
a breeze even, 
will fall
all the way 

Ann E. Wallace is a longhaul COVID-19 survivor, writing essays and poetry on the pandemic from her home in Jersey City, NJ as she recovers. Her poetry collection Counting by Sevens (2019) is available from Main Street Rag. She is on Twitter @annwlace409.