Two Fears

Could you ever understand if you were not
here in this quiet place of fear with me?
Behind these doors locked tight to keep you safe
and separate, the walls proved too porous
to hold life elements of oxygen, of sleep.

Each day rose and fell with the rhythms
of tossing tumbling night, pulsing mud-gray
dawn, head in hands begging the pain
to ease, the daylight struggle for air, voice,
strength, gasping for reason, for tomorrow.

Could I ever understand that these doors
locked tight did not just divide the fear,
mine from yours, but multiplied it?
That the view from the other side of the pane
left you, too, gasping for reason, for hope, for air.

Ann E. Wallace, a poet and essayist from New Jersey, has been documenting her experience with long COVID since March 2020 when she and her daughter fell ill. She is author of Counting by Sevens (Main Street Rag) and has previously published work in Eunoia Review, as well as in many other outlets, including HuffPost, Snapdragon, Crack the Spine, and Wordgathering. She can be found online at and on Twitter: @annwlace409.

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