Borders: Real and Imagined (Poetry Pandemic continued)

Guest Post by haiku poet Carole MacRury of Point Roberts, Washington, USA (originally shared on Facebook March 2, 2020 ─before the sh*t hit the fan, so to speak). Carole offers a balanced perspective that encourages us to see moments of light and beauty without ignoring the darker context and the health and safety protocols we all need to follow. Carole is also a talented photographer whose photos remind us that in these times of anxiety, uncertainty and physical isolation, nature offers a sense of continuity and solace. Thanks, Carole ❤

eagles_CaroleMacRury

[photo by Carole MacRury]

Covid-19—
a deer grazes both sides
of the border

Living in an isolated community such as mine [Point Roberts is located on a small peninsula connected to Canada, with access to the rest of the USA requiring crossing two borders], it’s easy to forget the pandemic spreading across the country as we watch eagles building nests, the patient herons waiting for a fish and the female deer bringing out their yearlings to graze. All things I saw just yesterday. All of it brings a sense of hope, of light, of Spring around the corner, but of course, we know the dark side is never far away. While we have one grocery store, one postal office, we can only rely on one small clinic that lacks a full-time doctor and is not open every day. Otherwise, we must cross borders to get to our primary doctors. There is no huge infrastructure available in our small community, except for community itself, and our fire department, ready and able to do everything possible with their a-class medics. Yet, across the border, businesses are already suffering, through fear, not reality, yet. No state of emergency has been declared in BC, but it has however, been declared in Washington State with the death toll increasing, specifically in one nursing home. I straddle both scenarios living on the 49th parallel between US and Canada.

Covid-19—
the dim-sum crowd
disappears

A large Asian population lives just across the border in the lower mainland of Vancouver. A place I love to visit. All the signs in Chinese, the food opportunities, of course offer a culinary delight. However, even the Chinese Canadians are avoiding their own markets. Business is down. The only reason, fear. People need to eat, so to not support local business will hurt us all. The Asian malls, too, suffering. Well, we can put off buying unnecessary items, but what will it do to the store owners? Then there are the beautiful open markets with their colorful displays of fruits and vegetable. Such a waste. Fear is keeping people away. As we hunker in our homes, remember the homeless, living and breathing on the streets.

the homeless. . .
hungry eyes pass by
rotting produce

Yet, despite it all, life somehow goes on. People do their best to get to get to work, after all, bills won’t stop arriving in the mailbox, unless the postal workers gets sick. Our hero’s ─ ambulance drivers, health workers, doctors, nurses, policeman, firemen continue to come to our rescue. Yet, it’s hard to live in a cave of one’s making. To think of our homes as a prison, so we venture out with caution.

a tiny cough . . .
the tai chi class moves
six feet apart

Carole MacRury

[Note: The World Health Organization accessed the Covid-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, after Carole’s original post. Check your local health service for the most recent advisory. Click here for the Canadian link.]

As the pandemic continues and more and more people are self-isolating or social distancing, let’s unite through sharing poetry, art and acts of kindness (and the creative ways people are finding to create, inspire and help each other across “social distancing”). I’ll share more pandemic prompted haiku in my next post.  -Jacquie

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