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Saturday, March 11, 2023


by Alejandro Escudé

California's COVID State of Emergency Ends Today. What Does That Actually Mean for You? 
KQED, February 28, 2023

Just today, I scrolled down to an old online video
I bookmarked when the pandemic hit, nothing special,
A rocker playing his guitar, an alternative melody,
A song reminding me of high school, and it brought
Me back there, not high school, but of late 2020,
When I was stuck inside, alone, feeling everyone’s
Vulnerability as though it were actually weather,
A bit stuffed up, wondering if I had it— Covid,
But sensing a kind of warmth between me and my
Students on the computer. Online school over,
I’d usually call it quits early, nobody cared then,
There was a divine feeling to all the ifs and whens.
But that was before it was done, slowly but surely,
And everything went back to rushing, metallic
Again, all expectations, societal wounds, clothes,
Shoes, no more calmness to the sky, only sharp,
Unnoticed clouds, the sun penetrating one’s eyes,
And, well, I’ll say it, the return of unkindness,
Human beings more beastly than before it happened.
So much so that you have to stop and explain,
When nothing needed explaining in those years.
On the mind, only one question: are you vaccinated?
Now we’re back to the usual demonic hairsplitting,
Conversations releasing a plume of mustard gas,  
All of us again soldiers in Great War-like trenches.
I’ve put my helmet back on, sighed, and headed 
Outdoors, negotiating the dragon-tongues, elbowing 
My way to drink from the nearly dried-up wells,
My children in tow, their eyes widened by clamor,
Greed, and the covert gore of our recovered horror.

Alejandro Escudé published his first full-length collection of poems My Earthbound Eye in September 2013. He holds a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and teaches high school English. Originally from Argentina, Alejandro lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.