Pandemic Protocol

By Nancy Smiler Levinson

PROMPT—During Covid-19 ...

One of my reserved books

is ready at curbside pickup


I phone for a date Press one.

Name check ID card check


Saturday between 4 and 5

Sweats Mask I set out on foot


Which of my reserved books

awaits me I wonder in step


A sidewalk sign notes

pickup/drop-off library garage


Chris’s car and a mail truck

are parked at the back wall


Hey I greet him behind

a roped-off table up front


Crinkles at the edges

of his eyes show his smile


He hands me a sanitized

stapled brown paper bag


Take care now

be well stay safe


I tear open the bag

an historical novel Hamnet


Shakespeare’s family imagined

in the time of the plague


love grief hope resilience

perfect date for me tonight


Nancy Smiler Levinson is author of MOMENTS OF DAWN: A Poetic Memoir of Love & Family, Affliction & Affirmation, as well as work that has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, most recently Global Poemic, Sleet, and Writing in a Woman's Voice. A poem, "Look for the Silver Lining," was included in The Journal of Expressive Writing in 2020. In past chapters of her life, Nancy published thirty books for young readers. She writes from Los Angeles, CA.