Plague Diaries – March 26, 2020
In Response to Walt Whitman’s America

Jennifer Hernandez

Plague Diaries – March 26, 2020

(Shelter in Place – an acrostic)

Spring is early this year; I hear geese
honking, awkward & joyful like middle school kids
elated to see their friends after a
long weekend or a pandemic.
Teenagers still practice parallel parking
eager to earn driver’s licenses, to escape
rooms where they practice skateboard landings
in private before showing them off at the park.
Not open, but neither’s the stadium, where a lone athlete
practices starts & sprints; soon another student
leaps onto metal bleachers, clatters her way up & down,
again & again, noisy loops to match the plaintive
cries of gulls that flap & swoop overhead.
Even they are training for next season.



In Response to Walt Whitman’s America

For George Perry Floyd

Until a grand, sane, towering, seated Mother
leaps from her chair
when she hears a man call

And she rushes to his side
static in her ears
heavy handbag slapping her hip
thighs chafing under her skirt

And she throws her body
between her son and anyone
who tries to harm him

And she bares her teeth
flails her limbs
kicks with pointy-toed boots
while she keens and howls

And she does not sit again
not ever again
before her boy can be safely
seated at her side

Until that time
there is no centre
of equal daughters
equal sons

in America


About Jennifer Hernandez
Jennifer Hernandez lives in the northwest suburbs where she teaches immigrant youth and writes poetry, flash, and creative non-fiction. A member of the League of Minnesota Poets, Jennifer shares a home with her pandemic puppy, tuxedo cat, senior lab, three sons, and husband. Her work has appeared in many print and online journals and anthologies, although she most enjoys readings and public installations, as the interaction between word and audience is where the magic happens.


Plague Diaries – March 26, 2020
In Response to Walt Whitman’s America
Copyright © 2021 by Jennifer Hernandez. All Rights Reserved.

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