Pandemic

Written by Bryant Smith for the collection: 'Life in the time of #COVID'


Photo by Richard Burlton

the man in a shirt

the color of the sky

it has several pockets

embroidered detail like lace

guayabera, the Cubans call it

the pockets are empty

his back pocket bulges

a wallet fat with business cards and notes

not with currency


he stares forlornly at the shelves

his favorites usually are there in abundance

today only scuffed beige metal

his daughter on the coast called

take care of yourself, she’d said

if it was a hurricane, he’d know what to do

this could last until Easter

or summer


he never once bought bottled water

why pay for what was free?

would be like buying dirt

but today he wondered if he was missing something

their buggies piled high

better get some food for the dog

and some tuna for the cat

in case this thing lasts longer than we think


does that lady really need all that?

stacked higher than she can see

just in case! she chirps

he’s just trying to live now

can’t worry about the future

widower he’d checked on the census

that he found in his letter box

he wonders if he’ll see another survey

or get to check another box



Bryant Smith is a professor of Spanish and Linguistics at Nicholls State University in South Louisiana who has only recently began writing poetry.  He meets biweekly with a group of colleagues who share and give feedback on their poems.

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