Life in the Time of Corona Detail for Emerald Coast Writers

Life in The Time of Corona BG

Crossing COVID Bay

Crossing COVID Bay

Diane Skelton

Ferry Crossing

I read a wife’s “how to” account of driving across the country

while keeping coronavirus at bay.

I heed her advice, as if packing to cross the Oregon Trail --
ice chest, water bottles, granola bars, cheese sticks, fruit,
tissues, sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, body wipes, face masks.

After 163 days trapped in the Panhandle,
my husband and I venture a hundred miles to ferry across Mobile Bay.
Leaving town, we drop our mail-in ballots in the post office slot.
Safer to risk losing our votes than to catch COVID-19 casting them.

The toll gate attendant slides a six-foot board with a clip
into our car window, snagging our credit card. Cash not accepted.
Orange vests, black gloves, and blue rayon face masks
wave us aboard the Dauphin Island ferry.
Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee vehicles rumble on behind.

The Marissa Mae Nicole slips into the bay, catching the breeze.
Passengers, one by one, tenuously escape their transport,
and raise their faces high into the wind, unfettered, free.
A face mask slips from a passenger’s pocket, quickly stuffed back in.

Riding atop gray-bay waters guarded by the past, Fort Gaines and Fort Morgan,
I stand on deck where President Obama once stood.
Gliding past oil platforms, caught between the past and the future,
I throw caution to the wind with a boatload of refugees on a half-hour crossing.

Life in the Time of Corona

Within weeks after March 11, 2020 World Health Organization’s declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic, West Florida Literary Federation offered its writers a catharsis. By April, regional writers were submitting words and images to preserve this time in history. The ongoing project began with Phase I, a special edition of The Legend published in May. It featured more than thirty juried submissions. Life in the Time of Corona continues with Phase II, updated as submissions are accepted. Here are the voices of health care workers, poets, essayists, historians, and the images of artists and photographers, documenting this time in Northwest Florida's history. The ongoing project ends with the advent of a vaccine or declaration by the World Health Organization.

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