#FlattenTheCurve: The World as She Knew It by Jean Varda

507px-Natan_Szpigel_Woman_knitting

She sat at a window musing about how it used to be apple blossoms in Spring, the call of a Robin, her mother calling her to the kitchen for home made ginger cookies and tea. She thought of her husband how they met at the Veterans Hall and danced a waltz in slow harmony and of her days as a nurse serving overseas. The terror in the eyes of her coworkers when the London hospital was bombed, how relieved she felt that they were in the Silhouette being served tea and scones when they heard the news. She thought of the look in the soldier’s eyes when he died in her arms and then she couldn’t think anymore. She could only look out the window and rock, her knitting comforting her hands, she wasn’t allowed to go out as the virus had spread to her neighborhood and all her friends were dead; granted they were an elderly group, but still… Now the sky was never clear a haze of smoke and fog hung over it at all times, meals on wheels brought her food and Pepper her kind nurse would visit once a week and take her blood pressure, but still she was so very lonely. It relaxed her to go over her memories as she knit and crocheted like colorful beads or seashells on the sand they comforted her and her cat, Angel Boy, he purred so loudly while kneading her lap. She didn’t even go outside anymore, the air was unhealthy to breathe these days, once in a great while it would rain and she would put on her slicker and go outside to garden and inhale the sweet perfume of fresh air. Sometimes at night she had to wear oxygen because she had been diagnosed with emphysema ten years before and she’d never smoked, she knew her life was mostly over and that was OK with her, she had lived such a wonderful life. She just ached inside when she thought of her little granddaughter just turning twenty eight and already with health problems and the stress of an older woman, God Bless and keep her she thought as she nodded over her knitting and heard a robin’s sing.

 

 

Jean Varda gave her first poetry reading in 1971 at the Stone Soup gallery in Boston. This was followed by performances on street corners prisons and churches with her mentor, storyteller Brother Blue. She led her first creative writing group through Boston’s Free College in the 70s then went on to lead such groups for the next thirty years. In 1980 she attended Boston poet Elizabeth McKim’s poetry therapy training at Lesley College in Cambridge, MA. She has published six chapbooks of poetry, establishing Sacred Feather Press. She has been published in numerous poetry journals.

 

Art by Nathan Szpigel.