With Love, From Edmonton

At 5 a.m. this morning, I am thinking of my daughter. She is an R.N. at one of the city hospitals in Edmonton and she is no stranger to 5 a.m. Work for her starts at 6:15. This poem in a pandemic, is for her and for all of our front line workers, who go to work daily, risking their lives for the rest of us.

Painting on Alberta Avenue by AJA Louden (used with permission)

With Love, From Edmonton

The door clicks behind you in the otherwise sleeping building,

You head for the LRT—another day.

A bus goes by with one soul on board headed into the dark of morning

where “It” waits, invisible.

The news shows a mass murder in Nova Scotia, a flood in Fort McMurray,

I try to turn down the knob on my trauma channel

Dial down the Red Zone.

Two chickadees on the feeder steady me.

Over my mound of potato chips, the cashier tells another COVID joke

The City guy comes by to pick up our blue bag

“Hey, thanks!” I yell.

“No problem, have a good day!” comes back to me.

Social distancing, blue bag distancing, chickadee distancing…

It’s all at a distance now.

Inhaling a global breath of wind,

I taste the air, feeling it deep in my lungs

Then exhale.

My pen skips along the page trying to explain,

trying to tell a tale of you.

At work, you are the soft voice that speaks of many things

Of patients and PPE

Of masks and methodologies

You, who glimpse the invisible.

Your phone vibrates

It’s another R.N. friend who is running a COVID testing site in B.C.

Your hands, dry as sandpaper, with all the washing,

Touch the screen—catching another Kitty video on your break.

Yet, at the end of the day, you create the Genesis of a song

Of fearless fighters in the rain

Of hope amid the pain

Diminished, yet more

We all want to sing your song

this Edmonton sing-a-long—of love.


(Mother’s Day 2020)