Apart; living alone during a pandemic

Just after Maine closed down due to our Stay-at-Home order in March, new-to-Maine resident Anne Rankin reached out to me. The Front Steps Project founders had just asked everyone to pause for safety, but Anne's email and perspective moved me. Most of my friends and family were isolated with at least one other person - but what has this experience been like for those who are truly apart?

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Anne and I agreed to defer her session until the restrictions lifted, and I met and and her sweet 8 year old dog Ozzie the other day. She kindly allowed me to share some of her words here: 

holed up alone

 

hunkered down, everyone

their own private idaho,

the country finally begins

to mourn itself. each day

such a long task to finish.

longer still for you, holed up

alone—unaccompanied

for weeks, months, how long

since the world hit pause?

fighting to save that one

square of tissue that falls

on the bathroom floor and

nursing your fears of the

mail, you wash your hands

over and over, solo-singing

the happy birthday song,

wondering who’s celebrating.

 

sometimes you need someone

else’s eyes to open your own.

all you want is to be zoomed

by someone, somewhere. but

life online feels like wearing

a wet suit when what you want

is skinny dipping. one day

as you carry out the trash,

your neighbor tosses her

greeting from another world

across the street, and the lilting

sound of your name in the

wind and the sight of her

screenless face turning

to meet your eyes feels

so personal it comes close,

moves you to tears.

 

*copyright 2020 Anne Rankin*

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