Lanette Sweeney, now a full-time writer and MFA student at Western New England University, thanks to her wife’s support, has survived lifetimes as a mother, reporter, editor, fund-raiser, and teacher of English and Women’s Studies. Her writing has appeared in multiple literary journals and anthologies.
I miss seeing human faces
not split by masks.
I miss toothy smiles. I miss
taking a walk outside without thinking
about aerosol vs. droplet transmission,
without wondering if my neighbor’s
poisoned breath is hanging in the air.
I miss sunshine, as surely this year
of April has been the gloomiest.
I don’t miss the frantic rushed distracted
feeling I had every time I had to leave the house,
sure I’m forgetting something, patting all my pockets,
searching for my keys, worried worried worried
I will be late, won’t have a pen, need to bring water.
Now I don’t need to be anywhere,
blessed relief. But I miss hope for our futures,
I miss scoffing at my daughter when she tells me
how bad it is, how her entire generation
can’t have babies, can’t get out from under,
can’t make a living, can’t go on like this.
I miss thinking she was exaggerating.
I miss calm, rational leadership. I miss
speeches that stirred, I miss pride.
I miss a vague trust I took for granted
that my leader was acting in my best interest
if not always then at least some of the time.
I miss sanity in the news, miss
pretending we were demonstrating
what was right, setting an example
for the rest of the backward world.
I miss not dreading what the day will bring
outside our cozy home. I miss not wishing
I could stay inside forever.