Love in the Time of COVID-19

Love in the Time of COVID-19

Fairy Kingdom is in the eye of the storm
Outside, bitter winds blow lesser men down.
Within the realm of fae, it’s safe as churches.

As a girl, my grandmother had scarlet fever.
The infected carpet went to the furnace.
She spent her recovery roller skating
On the bare bedroom floor and
Redecorating with chalk.
After her quarantine,
A new rug covered the memory of illness and
How she passed the days in captivity
Preserved for posterity:
Chalk drawings like cave paintings
Traces of roller skates like fossilized animal tracks.

Fairy Kingdom is next to Pirate Fort.
The pirate captain has a
Literal (plastic) cannon for an arm.
He wears a top hat, like a boss.
These are good pirates.
Romantic rovers who talk like Robert Newton
Or Geoffrey Rush,
These pirates follow a code.

For my tenth birthday, I got the chickenpox.
My first big sleepover party
With all of the girls in the neighborhood
Was canceled.
I insisted on riding in the back seat
While my dad drove around to break the news.
We didn’t have everyone’s phone number
But I had been to each house by bicycle
So I was a decent navigator, however itchy.
A rogue band of daring adventurers
Rode the maelstrom into Fairy Kingdom
They banked their (plastic) wooden ship at Dragon Cove.
The crew took shore leave near the tide pools
And giant redwoods at the base of Pirate Fort
One (plastic) girl donned pirate grab and
Infiltrated the United Nations of Corsair and Sprite
For fun.

Soon our quarantine will have been three weeks.
Outside, they are walking a fine line between caution and chaos,
Practicality and straight-up panic at the diseased disco.
At home, we play in the calmest part of the hurricane.
Outside, they are running on the banks and hoarding toilet paper.

This is the enchanted, sunny side:
Everything is canceled, yet here we are.
When most of us stay home, pollution drops exponentially.
We can’t eat your stock market or breathe your pilfered doubloons.
We can’t weave garments with your hate,
Or thatch roofs with your ignorance.
Your riches lose their power when you can’t make more.
The root of all evil is pulled; it is a greedy weed and it withers;
It is a plant that thrives under indirect light.
Now, we are all under the bad cop’s blinding bulb.
Let’s stay home forever, bartering for goods and services,
Helping our neighbors from a safe social distance,
Relying on the kindness of strangers:
Homegrown hand sanitizer from distilleries and convicts,
Early movie releases on streaming platforms,
Victory Gardens.

Fairy Kingdom has waterfalls and wilderness,
A three-headed sea serpent and a baby giant squid.
We sprawl across the carpet, limbs akimbo.
Children, pirates, fairies dance and fight at our command.
Our world is built. If we protect it, we can stay here forever.
If we must leave, we go on armored wings and sturdy ships,
Together, keeping to the code.


I wrote this just a few weeks into the spring of 2020. Over a year later, I still feel grateful for the safety of my home, the comfort and joy my resilient children give me each day, and the power of play to keep us hopeful and joyful. I am lucky and I know it.

About the Artist

Kathleen Morrow,  Centre County
Published:  August 31, 2021