Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘The subtle encroachment of a new age’

Self-isolation? It’s my natural state, so I smile as people emerge, groping like moles, from their action-packed, noise-filled lives and discover a new world: a world of birdsong and the songs of neighbors, a book on the balcony, recipes concocted from the store cupboard, old clothes worn again. It’s a world of today not tomorrow, of talking less and listening more, of wondering and pondering. Not out there, but in here. Not doing, but being. Join me; it’s not so scary after all. You might even come to prefer it.
— Angela Dyer (Limousin, France)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘To survive the storm’

In these days of solitude, I remember why I no longer play my Baby Taylor and sing Psalms to the Lord, why I no longer sit in pews on Sundays and absorb the proclamations of charismatic men, why, now, I stare at my phone, at a Facebook post from a pastor I once admired, and war with myself. Should I say my Chinese wife owes him no apologies? Is it enough that people’s hearts have broken for those of his ilk to choose another adjective? “The virus is from there!” they’d say. And where it’s from is not here.
— Nathaniel Cayanan (West Covina, California)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘This week, restiamo a casa’

It is four of us and a dog
in one house with a porch
facing west and as much
of the world as will fit
through two copper wires buried
in a hill that is wringing out
five days of rain that ripple down
the storm drain into the creek
that winds toward the whistle
and rumble of an upriver train
and a single swift
against the sunset.
— Michael Terry (Columbia, Missouri)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘Searching for her courage’

I spoke with my 95-year-old aunt yesterday. Her mind is on her parents, Americans who met in Paris after losing their spouses to the 1918 flu epidemic. They had their first baby out of wedlock, more common than scandalous in a time when a quarter of the world’s population was infected by the flu. That baby was my mother. As a widow in her eighties, my grandmother penned poems of longing about her true love, whom she hospiced in a deserted hotel in Kissimmee, Florida: the young husband who died in her arms.
— Bethia Sheean-Wallace (Fullerton, California)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘Taking the time to let nature heal’

“Any kids or dogs?” the ranger asked.
“No.”
“Playground’s closed. I can’t touch money.”
Driving toward the trailhead: mother, father, son; near a picnic spot, not eating, not playing, just standing bewildered by sun and silence.
The same sun beats brutal on the steep, dry trail. I snap photos of empty ridges, brief green in the wake of rain, soon to be desiccated, dangerous, latent flames.
This desert climb offers poor comfort for a transplanted daughter of streams and trees. But on the path down, grasses aglow with wildflowers, poppies flashing hope, and in the distance, live oaks still stand.
— Virginia Shank (Orange County, California)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘Fears and tears eclipsed by good deeds’

My parents tell me they smuggled me in.
Like it’s a joke.
Like thousands haven’t died.
But there’s no border patrol waiting for us. No inspection team. No need to hide in the trunk.
Fleeing from ghost town to ghost town.
It wasn’t until my walk last night after the storm, listening to Mitski – deep bass and foggy sorrow-voice – that I remembered the point of being alive. Heard frogs sing from the creek. Watched a girl dance under a streetlamp, not a care in the world. Saw a shooting star.
So shocked I forgot to make a wish.
— Jivani Rodriguez (Fairfield, Iowa)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘We will know someone’

Working at a long table. A Fabio Mauri work to my right called Director. Am I still a director when theater has been cancelled? Ahead are piles of books. For work, for comfort, for poetry. I look up from the screen and take in the view. Trees and hill and sky. All healing, I hope. Underfoot, Sofia, the newfie, peacefully snoozing. To my left, Tenley. Bravely and generously forging through. She astounds me. Boundlessly. We have adventured, laughed, and cried together. Now, we are bewildered and scared. Together. Certain only of our love. That is enough. That is the poetry.
— Chari Arespacochaga (Beacon, New York)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘More individuals are falling’

Rolling change. Cancellations. New challenges. Zooming in. Listening to news. Fearing the worst. Washing hands raw. Stocking up. Bracing. Watching the world stop. Stopping. Breathing. Spreading out into newfound time. Seeing hope. Clear water in the canals in Venice. Fish and birds return. Pollution disappearing. The universe provides a reset button. Pressing it. Now.
— Mindi Dickstein (Bloomingdale, New Jersey)

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Tiny Coronavirus Stories: ‘I have never seen her before’

Kitchen table. Eyes are stinging. Staring at a screen. Scrolling. Set up an online meeting. No one came. My job just melted away. A plate of half eaten carrots. On the fridge is the new school schedule. My kids are on their hour of free time. My son came home with a basket of everything from school, dumped it here and crawled into bed. My husband is working in the next room. Two screens. His head is in his hands. Out the window, my neighbor is in the sunshine, looking over her balcony. I have never seen her before.
— Laura Raboud (Edmonton, Alberta)

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