An Abundance of Caution

First published, in a slightly shorter version, on the Poems to Lean On blog by Washington state poet laureate Claudia Castro Luna on 23 March 2020.       +

      by Michael Dylan Welch

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your long-awaited book launch.
        Hugging your mom on her 96th birthday.
        Your daughter’s first drama performance.
        The poetry conference at which you were a featured speaker.
        Your cruise to wherever.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        All rock and pop concerts.
        March Madness basketball games.
        Your birthday celebration with friends and family.
        Your grandchild’s bar mitzvah.
        The non-emergency surgery you had scheduled for months.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your trip to Paris.
        Visiting your dying grandma.
        Attending your friend’s funeral.
        Your ability to focus.
        Baseball season.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        School.
        Ski season.
        High school graduation.
        Ballet performances.
        Your productivity.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your job.
        The symphony, including the cellist you’d been hoping to hear for a year.
        Your best friend’s wedding.
        Church services.
        Your pottery class.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your monthly bowling night.
        All tattoo parlor appointments.
        Social interaction with any human you’re not related to.
        Visiting your sister in palliative care.
        Your 20th anniversary surf trip to Baja.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Me time.
        Your trip to Fiji, to Japan, to Ireland.
        Moving to a new state.
        St. Patrick’s Day.
        Mother’s Day.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your colonoscopy.
        Crossing the Canadian border to check on your mom.
        Visiting family on the birth of your first grandson.
        Having your wisdom teeth removed.
        Your monthly open-mic poetry reading.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Your painting lesson.
        Haiku group meetings.
        Your barbershop appointment.
        Your spring break road trip.
        Your family business.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Dinner at your favourite restaurant.
        All restaurants bookings.
        Your dental cleaning.
        Next week’s public lecture.
        College classes.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Zoo visits.
        Elevator rides up the Space Needle and the Eiffel Tower.
        Your side gigs.
        The workshop you were going to give, the one you were going to take.
        All library visits.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Jazz night.
        Your usual bus route.
        Tourist attraction visits.
        Dance club soirees.
        Your art show opening.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Contentment.
        The Oregon Shakespeare festival.
        Your nonessential medical checkup.
        Viewing the cherry blossoms.
        The Olympics.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Day care.
        Going out of the house except for groceries and pharmacy runs.
        Barbecues and tailgate parties.
        Coffee with the girls.
        Your therapy appointment.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Hand sanitizer.
        Your gym club visits.
        Racquetball night.
        Orchestra rehearsals.
        Toilet paper.

Out of an abundance of caution, we have cancelled:

        Not one thing, with help from each other, that we cannot recover from.