In the shadow of the pandemic
Our father lies dying of cancer
His arduous journey almost done.
From far corners we hurry home
To sit vigil, say goodbye.
By plane, by car, we play the odds
Bringing comfort and casserole,
And sadly something else—
Heavy worry-laden baskets
Heaped with fear.
What invisible enemy clings
To our clothes, our hands?
Is that flush a raging fever?
That tickled throat, tragedy waiting?
What are we bringing to Mother
Besides our grief and love?
Should we come?
How could we not?
How do we do what must be done?
There are no good answers,
Published in Headline Poetry & Press, March 2020