Are You OK?

Barbara Burt
Boothbay Harbor, ME

I didn’t catch COVID-19, it caught me.
Some nights the virus infects my dreams.
I wake up sure I am beginning to sicken.
I cough—was that a dry cough?
Next thing, my husband doesn’t smell the baking brownies.
Oh my God—how will I take care of him
in our small house
with only one
at the top
of a steep
What if we both get sick?

I am obsessed with checking the news:
how many people died today? How many sickened?
Yet, I learn of an uncle-in-law who succumbs
and can’t settle myself to write notes of condolence,
his grown children no doubt
devastated by his solitary

Our lives are circumscribed by increased distancing.
We don’t know the day until we turn
and check the news on our bed-buried phones.
Some aspects of our normal lives recede,
But others grow more vivid.
Relationships with friends
and family deliberately deeper.
When I ask someone, “How are you?” I really want to know.
Have you been sick?
Are you bored?
Are you lonely?
or scared?
Are you ok?

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