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Sunday, September 10, 2023


by Renee Williams


After the pandemic, it’s natural to come out of hiding

to share wine with friends at a photography opening


to hug and greet one another after years of trepidation

to see faces and smiles and to hear that delicious laughter of life


to be reminded that this is the stuff that makes all the toil worth it

to gather, to enjoy art together, to see depictions of our 600-year-old oak


that has lived through the Spanish Influenza and so much more during its time on this earth

and is still standing, as our photos show, from spring to summer and covered in snow.


Later the sniffles start, sore throats appear, and the slow headaches emerge.

It cannot be. It cannot be. Allergies, yes, sinuses, of course, but no, not that, not again.


The test shows the faintest line of positivity… and all doubt disappears. 

Another person from the group becomes ill, and another, and another. 


Once more we find ourselves communicating via text, email, or Facebook Messenger

sharing our lives in the most unnatural way possible once more. 

Renee Williams is a retired English professor, who has written for Of Rust and Glass, Alien Buddha Press, and Fevers of the Mind.