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Pandemic Pondering

Jesica Siham Fernández
Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies Department

{Listen}

March 13, 2020
The date is pressed upon my mind
My flesh and soul
My memory
All but a faint dream

Today marks a year
A moment in time when
Overcome with fear
Emotions, uncertainty
Unsettlement
I forfeited a long awaited travel
A getaway, an escape
A break

The awayness, however
Has been much longer than desired

I breathe
And I ease in
I remember
Clear skies
Packed suitcases
Writing plans
And student connections

A healing brother in a hospital bed
Blessings from my mother
La senal de la cruz
For the trip ahead

A travel ban is set in place
Halted international plans
The world I knew
The routines
The known and familiar
I witness this
And us unravel

I told myself
It just cannot be!
Is this a dream?
A conspiracy theory?
What am I to believe?

Here and there
COVID-19 was everywhere
Shelter in place
Before the mirror I see
A worn and depleted
Puzzled face
The journey is just to begin

In the span of hours
Love and labor is spent
Transitioning to online learning
Supporting students
Family and friends

Holding space
Striving to fight light and grace
In the darkness
The unknown
Life upended
Turned upside down

At a loss
Seeking grounding
Tranquility
Serenity
Rootedness

I turned to the waters
Ocean’s ebbs and flows
To guide me
And soothe my panicking soul

The pandemic came
And it remains still here
Present in my life
In yours, in ours
And yet we stand
Together
And apart
Near and far
High and low

We move, we flow
We heal
And, most of all
We, us
Feel radical hope!

As my abuela would say:
No hay mal que por bien no venga
Que el buen humor y animo nos sostenga

To times and moments gone
And those to come:
May our thoughts be steady
Present and joyful
May our words improve upon the silence
May our intentions be guided
With a healing heart

And may the lessons
Of this moment
Impress upon us
The precariousness
And preciousness of life
And mutual coexistence
Of living
Existing
Resisting

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