"My Niece Has a Baby During the Pandemic"
by Dell Lemmon
A pandemic spreads across the globe.
At first, I stay in the city.
A child is born.
I have better technology in the city.
It was a difficult birth.
I can watch the latest news on cable television.
It took many hours of labor and a caesarian at 3:30 AM.
I learn to Zoom with various poetry groups on my computer.
Luckily, the mother and child survive.
I see parents with their children, who are not in school, in the park outside my windows.
The extended family of the new baby is grateful.
I am in New York City, which is the epicenter of the pandemic.
The next day, mother and child rest after the long birth.
I want to leave the city for Easter, but the crisis is escalating at an alarming rate.
Then there are many photos of the baby on the computer.
I am not very good at wearing masks.
The baby looks calm and content.
Every day, I see more ambulances parked and waiting behind my building.
The baby sleeps a lot.
Each time I go shopping for groceries, I feel guiltier.
The baby appears swaddled and dressed in many different outfits.
I am afraid that one of the shopkeepers will get sick.
The baby’s father looks happy.
Finally, I decide to leave and check on my house in the country.
The baby is a boy.
With the stay-at-home orders, where will I get gas and have lunch on the road?
The father has a son.
At the border of Rhode Island, I have to tell a soldier where I am going.
The mother has a child.
He seems relieved that I am going to Massachusetts.
The three of them leave the hospital.
I am relieved when I arrive at my house in the woods.
The family is back in their home.
I didn’t realize how stressful it was in the city.
There are many daffodils in bloom.
Dell Lemmon is the author of two books of poetry, both published by Box Turtle Press, Are You Somebody I Should Know? (2020) and Single Woman (2016). Her poems have appeared in Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Court Green, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Mudfish, WSQ, and Washington Square Review, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn and sometimes on Cape Cod too.