Cooking for One During the Pandemic
So many weeks at home now,
everything canceled, nothing to plan for,
and so many warnings for people my age
not to go out. I’ve lost track of time.
Forgot to turn the calendar page to April
till my friend from California phoned with a joke.
Didn’t know today was Sunday or Easter
until the radio shared a dictum against taking
Communion. Churches and synagogues closed,
services and Seders conducted through Zoom.
The kitchen clock says noon. Too late
to defrost the roast, and that’s all I’ve got.
Before the lockdown I bought onions
and potatoes—maybe I’ll make soup.
And a salad if the lettuce is still good.
A hard-boiled egg crumbled on top.
A grated carrot for color and texture.
Sesame oil in the dressing to party it up.
I’ll put a cloth on the dining table, a taper
in the candle holder. And I’ve got that last
pint of coffee ice cream I saved.
I’ll light the candle, let it stay lit.
Review by Gary Lark
I was going to say enough with the Covid poems, then I read it. And was charmed. I saw the ordinary kitchen, the easy joke over the phone, the outside world bumbling along, and a quiet mind. No use to fret, time to make do. If the human can endure it will because of people stitching it together with the color and texture they have.
Review by Claire Scott
Your poem beautifully captures the flat boredom of COVID days. I think you can reverse the first two lines since “everything cancelled” would really pull the reader into the poem, wondering what was cancelled. I would like to know the joke the friend told the writer. I also think the word “dictum” doesn’t match the more casual language of the rest of the poem. I love the ending, that builds on itself until there is a real meal. The last line is fabulous!! Thanks for a great poem.
Review by Paul Willis
Against the odds, another sweet Covid poem. The speaker, alone in the first months of the pandemic, does not even know it is Easter, and then, when she hears, improvises a modest meal for herself. I love the hope and perseverance of the final line: “I’ll light the candle, let it stay lit.”