March 1, 2020

Bad news arrives in a text message
My beloved uncle Ed has left his body
His was a good life though not without
Trials and tribulations a long life entails
He adored my father, his hero in life
When death took their father, my dad
Stepped in at seven to go out to work
The Great Depression made men of boys

Ed’s wake will be a mourning celebration
As befits a Knight of Columbus, father,
Grandfather, great grandfather, husband
Community dad to his children’s friends
He cheered them on then drove the kids
Home after stopping for a burger and fries

I call my brother, he’s at an airport
Waiting in Houston for a flight to LA
He agrees to meet me in New Jersey
I feel better knowing he will be here

A proper Irish wake is not to be missed
It can go on for days and long nights
A warm-up to the deceased’s funeral
A feast of food and drinking to follow
With stories, laughter, and bad jokes

We’ve been warned of a strange virus
A grim reaper of death in the air
But in our minds, we are invincible
So we party on remembering Eddie
Sharing stories while speaking kindly
Of the dead who may still be near

Post funeral, I wake to fog outside
I tell my brother to dress for the chill
I’ve had a vision and need his skills
I drive us to a deserted train track
And ask him to kneel down between rails
I blindfold him and walk to my camera
I call out that a train can be heard nearby
He lifts his head slowly as I fire off shots

He departs for the airport after breakfast
Suddenly I am tired with aches and chills
I sleep for three days, unable to stand up
I know this is not the flu or a spring cold
This exhaustion is something different

On the fourth day, I rise from warm covers
Return to work publishing and printing yet
I sometimes wonder if the Covid-19 virus
Paid me a visit, only touching down gently
And not finding a place to lodge departed
Months later, I test negative for the virus