Pandemic Prose

<100 Word Musings in the Time of Corona

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By Anonymous


Others have said this but it is worth a reminder:

      When you go out and see the empty streets, the empty stadiums, the empty train platforms,

don't say to yourself, "It looks like the end of the world."
What you're seeing is love in action.

What you're seeing, in that negative space, is how much we do care for each other,

for our elders, for immuno-compromised people we know or don’t know,

for people we will never meet.
People will lose jobs over this. Some will lose their businesses.

And some will lose their lives.
All the more reason to take a moment, when you're out on your walk,

or on your way to the store, or just watching the news,

to look into the emptiness and marvel at all of that love.
Let it fill you and sustain you.
It isn't the end of the world.

    It is the most remarkable act of global solidarity we may ever witness.




We have been told to stay inside.


Instead of containment

It is an invitation


to explore the power of your Breath

the power of Yourself as an entity that stands


without the artificial accessories which

cobbled together create 

what we knew formerly as 





it's just you. 

Maybe no job

Maybe no parties

Maybe no favorite restaurants to give you clout and likes and social currency

that once defined

the house we lived and moved around in.



It's just you.



You are the house.

Your body. 

That's all you've got.



Go inside. 

Take a seat.

And learn.

Landscape Scenography

by C. Sullivan

Here is illustrated the eventuality of us jumping the fence to a green and healthy future with the sun shining down on a bright landscape.

I don't sleep anymore

By LH 


On this night

I listen to the heat blow

and the windows twitch

In exasperation

I twitch too

conceding to foreign pulse

in foreign body

Fear stains on a tired mind

At least we still have bed 

By EL 


I crawl out of bed 

And pad into the living room 

(deemed the “fun room” in this time of sequester)


It’s still dark. 


I roll out my mat, 

proud of my early morning. 

Experts say routine will save us. 


I want to wake up with the sun

without news of death and disease 

so I keep the overhead lights off. 


Instead, I light two candles 

One for me 

One for you


As I sit in the dark there is no pandemic 

Just the wood floor and the painted ceiling 

The soft flicker 

The quiet




And then 


The earth begins to rumble 

The walls move back and forth 

Back and forth 

I spring up and yelp. 

An earthquake - 5.7 - sweeps beneath my feet. 




I blow out my candles and get back in bed. 


Purell for the People

by Aurora Kreyche

Numbers Game

by Anonymous

When I was 6, I told my parents I would come home to take care of them when they got old. I left home at 15, and now they are 85 and 90 years old. I live 3,000 miles away. I am 100% terrified I will ever see them again. 

a lesson on spontaneity (3-20-20)

by k.lee

It’s funny, I never used to make plans in advance. I’d judge my friends who would schedule a weekend getaway for September in January. But this year, I made plans for the whole thing. 


Now I know

Never make plans too far in advance

Because everything can change in the space of a second.


by NZ

Another dispatch from your quarantine to mine tells of a breakup that feels poorly timed. A man who wants to sequester himself from you for more reasons than one. A bit too much narrative cohesion, if you ask me. You walk outside, my heartsick friend, in the only place that people go for walks in that neighborhood nowadays, where strangers give nods of solidarity from afar. You secretly hope you might run into him. We’d still stand six feet away, you explain to me on the phone, but at least then I’d get to see him.


by A. Dasbach

Last night, I sat in my living room under my state’s shelter in place, with my women, and pieced together bits of paper and color concerning my life and of my mind. Grateful for all of this time to reflect, yes, but scared of the bounding consequences that made that be. America the great, the powerful, the ‘rich’; what will happen to you when we are through with this? If it feels like Big Brother is watching, it’s true, every action taken impacts all. But when has that not been the case? We, the women, have long understood that coalescing together is nature’s path. Only now we must lose hundreds to understand community at last. 


by Peeping Tom

I have three windows in my kitchen. They are big and tall and if you are in the building next door - up a level or down a level - you can see in. 


Windows go two ways, another thing to note.


Last week, I closed the blinds on these windows every night. I like my privacy. I don’t care to window peep on my neighbors. 


This week I leave them open.

Windows go two ways, a nice thing to note.

Adjusting to Life 

by LM

This is boring. Life is boring and scary. School has been cancelled, plans have been cancelled, our lives have been cancelled. I’m so bored. It’s annoying but it’s all I can think to say. Usually my life is rushed and full of activities but now that I have no structure I sit and think about how this will change the world and how it’s weird that I actually miss school. This is what it has come to. No one knows when this will end but I suppose I should start adjusting to my new life.

The Origins of Magical Realism

by La Vie en Prose

All my life I have practiced being lonely.  Now, at last, it is coming in handy.  I live in my imagination.  I look around my house, but I don’t see the unhung curtains in a pile on the chair, the unsorted books in cardboard boxes from my ex-husband’s basement, the untouched craft supplies for multitudinous projects yet to be undertaken. I see cascading drapery, organized volumes on a shelf, and creative output galore.  Outside I see a budding green world, people holding hands, throngs singing together, ice cream being shared, students returning, and joy in the streets.  It is happening.


by H. E. Casson

Today I lost my job

And for one minute


There were tears


But I still write poetry

So I am still working

To put words in a line


Folded perfectly

To be shipped to you


I perform quality control

Making sure you know

That this loss was not as hard

As the others


(The losses to men 

Who made jokes at my body’s expense

Imaging how I’d taste served hot)


This loss is one we all might share

In a time where I am sad to be a poet




We do not need so many memories


By Smit Parekh

On the cusp of spring, we were lying in bed on an afternoon with her cat pawing our faces, when our phones started buzzing with the news of a virus breakout in China. 

Today after a month, my best friend and I are in different cities, stuck in quarantine to protect ourselves from the virus that traveled to our counties, killing thousands of people across the globe on its way. 

My sister who studies art, miles away from the golden coast, convinced me to travel to her in the Midwest, where she promised to make a portrait of me. 

How could I say no?

Staying around art and family will keep me stable from the crippling social life that waits ahead for all of us.

Dirty Dishes


What day is it? 

I check my phone. It’s Friday. I force myself out of bed and walk out of my room to the kitchen. 

It's quiet. 

Both of my roommates left. I am all alone in our small apartment. I look over to see dirty dishes that have been sitting in the sink since Monday. I walk over to sink about to wash the dishes. Instead, I grab my laptop on the kitchen table and put on a show from Netflix. The parks and recreation theme song fills the empty room. I open my fridge to see if there is anything I can eat. I grab a suspicious old takeout box and grimace at the smell. I throw out the leftovers and let out a heavy sigh. 

I guess I’ll do the dishes.

Waiving from a window

By AB + JW

Inverted Pyramid Pandemic Playlist

By Anonymous

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now

Don’t Stand So Close to Me

Burning Down the House

Don’t Cry Out Loud

In the Air Tonight

Can’t Touch This

Tainted Love

Stand Back


Day Something 

By Anonymous

What the fuck?
What the actual fuck?
Is it true what they say? The end begins like any other day?

I go back and forth
Mornings I’m optimistic as the sun shines and my calendar fills
Evenings I sulk unable to see a future without chaos

I miss my friends and my freedom
But we will be ok
right ?

Day Zero 

By Anonymous

Our decision was finally made for us, thankfully, in the form of a "shelter in place" command from trusted California leaders, who seem to have more guts/balls/sense/intellect/safety than our national government. Yes, it's extreme. Yes, it's scary. And, yes, it's finally an answer to the question "what do we do?" As of tonight, with an attitude that with limitations, creativity starts to emerge, we feel abundant. We have food. We have income. We have love. I know we will grow weary, and we may grow sick, but tonight, we thrive.

Day One

by Anonymous

For many in my generation,    

(we who were children when the towers came down; 

watched our parents struggle to provide when the banks failed; 

first learned of climate change when we were too young to vote; 

who have been indebted since we were eighteen)

                                                                     fear is nothing new.    
Perhaps that is why we built friendships and communities so strong. Why we clung to our gatherings -- at bars, at shows, in living rooms with friends -- so covetously.

Maybe we knew how precious it was because deep down


we never really expected it to last?

Paranoid People

by Carlo

My human takes me for a walk. We see my friend Charlie at the field. My human walks slowly to Charlie’s human and waves. After some delay, Charlie and I both are let off leash. She sniffs me, intimately. And I her. Our humans stand far apart, talking loudly, shifting as if to remain up-wind. Charlie’s human says her mother-in-law is stuck with them; can’t get back to Israel. “You getting lots of extra treats?” I ask Charlie. She nods, yes. Charlie nuzzles my human. My human pats Charlie on the head. When we get home, we have a bath. 

Flowers of the Apocalypse

by Barbara Santa Barbara

My jeans are embroidered with pink and orange – flowers of the apocalypse.  My son offers to shop, but I am already among battling carts, empty shelves, desserts but no bread. Meat counter depleted, I snag a corned beef.


My daughter texts, “Let brother shop. You are old. Dad is old and infirm. The entire world is fucked up because this affects rich white men. Unlike you, we will be fine. Just stay the fuck home.”


Next day daughter texts, “Where are you?” “Home.” “Excellent! Stay there.”


Home, in my secret garden, spring buds erupt, flowers unaware of the apocalypse.

Ready or Not

by Anonymous

My parents died in their sixties, three siblings before age fifty. I envisioned my 85-year-old self hunched over a cane, but never really expected to live so long. Yet I have, along with my 90-year-old husband. Now Covid-19 may find us, careful as we are being isolated in our condo. I’ve had enough lung ailments and he is frail enough that this may be a farewell post. Four loving, concerned children advise us daily from various locations. But the scarcity of tests, medical personnel, and facilities…. our country isn’t ready for what's on our doorstep. It’s likely we aren’t either.