Read & Write with Dr. Han: Poetry in the Pandemic

Day 1

Today I began teaching. I wrote this between classes:

Poetry in the Pandemic

How do I tell them that
this is the test for the gods?
For we are alone here
as we enter, as we leave.
And the date has only moved up.
This trial run is just a test,
a black and white target of descending
numbers on a screen. A series of
red and yellow warnings.
What we learn now is the solitude
of the self. The truth of dust
we ache to sweep and hide.
This is it. This is the fullness of our life.
in these rooms.
The abundance of who we are
has always been with us.
It has never been anything but—
we simply adorn our ears
instead of listening. That’s over now.
Now is the mirror we must summon.
Joy. Love. The patient breath of kindness.
It’s here and has always been
a leaf, a tide, a laugh,
a black rock under a sun.
Face the myth that others
have written. Hold in your hand
the heart you so longed to bury.

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