Distance: Responses to Covid-19
Class of 2020
By Lara Jacobowitz
When we said we wanted to go down in history, this isn’t what we meant
A class born in the wake of a national tragedy, we’ve always teetered on the edge
Not this nor that
We lived the progression from palm pilots, beepers, and VHS to tablets, iPhones, and Netflix
We jammed out to music from two different centuries on our iPod Nanos
We wanted to be legendary
As another chapter in our saga is sealed, it ends on a cliffhanger
No certainty in the future we dreamt of, a future that is only now about to come to fruition
“Just wait until senior year”
“Just wait until second semester”
A semester that melted away to mere pixels before our eyes
At the first taste of freedom we were confined to our homes without even a goodbye
We were supposed to be legendary
Now when we say what year we graduated we will only receive glances of pity
The grade that went off-script
By Miriam Boss
she sat on her bed watching him go
-from afar, of course-
with her eyes crossed and head shallow
love flew and sadness awakened
he wasn't the first to go
-and surely not the last-
tears dripped and anger arose
all because of that microscopic murderer
it traveled at the speed of light
it broke families and spread through towns
simply to say, it was an international ghost.
A Beautiful Day
By Caleb Ottensoser
It was a Tuesday. The sky was a magnificent color, a majestic blue. It’s been stated that this
day was one of the prettiest in human existence. On this particular day, a young boy was sitting
on his bed. He had been woken up by the sunlight creeping through his window. Dressed in his
pajamas, he flew down the stairs. He didn’t bother to brush his teeth or do his hair. In his mind,
it was silly to occupy yourself with such trivial things on a day like this. He slid into the kitchen,
almost tripping. His mother smiled at him and offered him toast. Despite his hunger, he refused,
no need for toast today. Soon enough he was outside his house, clad in a helmet and
positioned on his bike. It occurred to him that just two months ago he couldn’t ride a bike for his
life. At least these months of isolation were useful in one way. He rode through the
neighborhood saying hello to everyone he saw. The boy inhaled the sweet smell of the outside. Emancipated from the confines of his home, he was joyful. For once, he took
everything in, the pretty houses, the green grass, and the shining sun. The boy would remember
this day for the rest of his life. After riding for a while, he arrived at his destination. Pajamas
drenched in sweat, he looked at the quaint house in front of him. A smile consumed his face.
He walked up the gravel driveway and knocked. A frail-looking woman answered the door. At
the sight of the boy, her eyes welled up. Even though it's only been a couple of months, for her it
was an eternity. The two embraced in a hug. There was no mask or anxiety. Finally, everything
The Art of Saying Goodbye
By Eliana Meckler
It is time to say goodbye,
Goodbye to our favorite things?
But is goodbye forever--
Or is it temporary?
If I say goodbye, does that mean
It’ll never come back
That the normalcy will never return--
will it ever come again?
Because if it never returns,
I don’t know if I am ready,
Ready to say goodbye.
By Rochel Leah Itzkowitz
She holds her breath for society to swiftly return to its familiar form, but fails to admit that no breath could be steady enough to satiate her desire. Others predict realistic time frames, yet she perseveres.
She holds her hopes particularly high for normalcy to reappear, but fails to notice the disappointment inevitably lurking behind her. Some invalidate its materialization in the coming weeks, yet she persists.
She holds her head up for all those wronged by the oppressive virus, but fails to recognize that our heads are cooperatively down. Many oppose her naive yearning, yet she continues.
The signs of optimism she possesses are innocent, almost childlike, as she overlooks the detrimental truths of the catastrophe. Nevertheless, in the face of terror, her aspiration and aversion to others’ refutation bring something larger: salvation’s presence coexisting with our future as a nation, thriving and free.
A Letter on COVID
By Josh Kaplan
It was 1 am on a foggy Wednesday night, and I was on a traffic-filled highway leaving New York City. The bags were rolling around in the trunk of our car. This may sound like an apocalyptic movie, but it's not, it was my life on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020.
Earlier that evening I had filled up numerous bags and put them into the back of my family’s SUV. My siblings also had packed bags, and the suitcases were piled four high in the trunk. The previous night, I was placed into quarantine at my school’s direction, my sister was instructed to work from home, and my brother’s school was canceled. Just 2 weeks earlier, I attended AIPAC, the American Israeli Political Action Committee’s Annual Policy Conference. There were nearly 20,000 people in attendance. The Tuesday after the conference, the news broke that the Jewish community was being infected.
It seemed all too real. Someone on my bus used to be neighbors with the guy. One of my partners at school, along with all Westchester students, were instructed to remain at home for two weeks. The partner for this project later tested positive for the virus. That Thursday, my school announced we would be closed for two days, it has become 3 months. The following Monday, we were told to “Social Distance”, a term that, until then, no one had heard before. It was scary. That Tuesday night, we were told to go into Quarantine. That night, my family, soon to be followed by a large portion of the neighborhood I lived in, emigrated to Long Island. Some of us probably brought the virus with us. I know I did not. Emotions were running high, nobody knew how many people were gonna die.
Unfortunately, nearly 300,000 have died, including nearly 100,000 in the US, and no one can see an end in sight. While death is unfortunate, we all should be grateful that we have survived this, and are lucky that we have amazing families, amazing friends, and we are still learning. But, it was still 100,000 lives, 100,000 who were someone’s father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, wife, husband, grandfather, grandmother, aunt, and uncle. It’s horrible, its a tragedy, it was preventable, yet there is no end in sight.
Walking in these empty streets
By Zehava Shatzkes
Walking in these empty streets,
Not a soul can be seen
The sounds of my footsteps
Echo off the houses
Like thunder in my ears.
Usually so busy;
Now deserted and
Ringing through my ears,
through my body
Of the empty streets.
By: Eliana Birman
Happy birthday to me…
It’s just a song
I’m singing for my birthday
But that’s wrong.
It’s not a birthday song.
How could you be so dumb?
It’s not a birthday song.
Or my skin wouldn’t be numb.
It's not a birthday song!
It’s just how long I need to wash my hands
To keep them clean
I need to sneeze…
And now I need to wash my hands again.
Happy birthday to me...
A View From My Window
By Lital Glickman
A scene of lush trees
And the clear blue sky
But something else
Catches my eye
Caught on a branch
Is a plastic bag
Through the wind
It waves like a flag
But something feels sad
It's not meant to be
Stuck to a branch
Looking back at me
For me to reach
It’s much too high
All I can do
Is stare and sigh
This bag may never
Come down to rest
And it will remain to me
An unwanted guest
That I have no control
Like a plastic bag
But with a soul
By Shirah Abrahams
A Robin fixes her eyes on the tree beside my window.
I watch her gather twigs and build a nest.
I observe the Robin create a life for herself:
Lay vibrant blue eggs,
Feed her baby birds,
Teach them to fly.
As I watch Robin disappear into the world, I remain at home.
Stuck in my room like a dormant seed.
I have the potential to live,
To fly like a Robin.
But I’m forced to stay home.
Zooming through days,
Blinking through nights,
Waiting for something to happen,
Waiting for this nightmare to end and my life to resume.