Pandemic Villanelles


It Was the Year We Learned

It was the year we learned to wash our hands.
That was one lesson. Another, harsher one was:
Each of us is given an hourglass, its limited sands.

How those two fit together—hard to understand
At first, but gradually we got it because
The same year we learned to wash our hands


Was the one that taught us our childish demands
To have it all and always ignored some cosmic laws:
That hourglass was us, and its limited sands


Stood for our total mortal moments. All the plans
We had were put on hold. We wore gloves,
And that whole year we washed our hands


With care. We learned in isolation time expands,
But meanings don’t—stark fact that gave us pause
As we stared at our own hourglass. Its limited sands


Were somehow all we’d be allotted in this land
Of the living, which we loved despite its flaws.
It was the year we learned to wash our hands,
Then bow to our hourglass and its diminishing sands.


Pandemic Villanelle Touching on Love

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