After the Pandemic

By Naomi Karp

Prognosticators are picturing
Places and times
After the pandemic.

I’ll take a leap of faith
That such a day
Will come.

After the pandemic,
I will never buy new clothes.
Well, hardly ever.
My closet overflows
With a rainbow of garments
(well, mostly black)
That haven’t seen the light of day
In months.
After the pandemic
I may have to wear something besides leggings
At least once in a while.
But what I have will do.

After the pandemic,
I will hug my friends more often.
Well, maybe not,
Because I will be too scared.
But I will love them more
Because I missed them,
Despite the faces and voices
On Zoom and Skype.
They were real
And yet they were not.

After the pandemic,
I will work harder.
Well, maybe I won’t,
Because I’ll revel in
Having live models
In the glory of their flesh
At art school
And I’ll love being a
Lady who lunches
Like Meryl Streep
Singing Sondheim on video.
But I’ll know that
My all-purpose
Kitchen/family/TV/lounge room
Can be a place of productivity
Aided by Apple plugs
In more shapes
Than Steve Jobs
Ever imagined.

After the pandemic,
I will walk in Rock Creek Park
Every day
And watch each spring
As shoots turn to leaves,
Buds turn to buttercups,
Crawly bugs turn to butterflies,
And a whole forest goes
From gray-brown
To vibrant yellow-green.
Well, maybe I’ll never again
See them as acutely as now,
Appearing out of nothing
In slow motion
While the virus slowly morphed
From nothing
To a mammal in a market
To a monster devouring the world.

Naomi Karp is a Consulting Scholar at the Stanford Center on Longevity