UNCERTAINTY, BY DAVID HOLPER
That spring when the disease spread
like storm clouds, we sat in the darkness
of our homes, baking, or eating, or peering out
over the internet, wondering if and when
the light would return. We fumbled our messages:
“stay safe” or “be well.” The number one song in America was “Say So.”
No one could say anything certain about the future. In that darkness,
no one could tell what would happen when the country reopened,
like some intricate wooden Chinese puzzle. Who, after all, knew
whether teachers would face their students in the fall
or if students all over America would once again stare like glazed donuts
into their computer screens, wondering if this was the best
that the future had to offer. No one knew
if there would ever be a vaccine, no matter the 100 efforts
under way, or if six feet would always be the distance.
Even with our loved ones, if someone fell sick in the darkness,
the best we could do is to wall them off from us, praying
the virus would stay put. The mathematical modelling was vague.
The testing, insufficient. The leadership? A bad joke. The only sure thing
anyone was counting on was hope, that beautiful feathered thing
that seemed to have flown the coop as we sat in our homes
making avatars of ourselves for no purpose whatsoever.
David Holper has done a little bit of everything: taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. He has published the poetry collections The Bridge (Sequoia Song Publications) and 64 Questions (March Street Press), and his poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies. He has recently won several poetry competitions, in spite of his contention that he never wins anything. He teaches English at College of the Redwoods and lives in Eureka, California, where he is the city’s first Poet Laureate.