To My Children in the Fourth Week of the Pandemic

By Alicia Jo Rabins
Kids play with toys scattered all over and tired exhausted parent

I am sorry
you cannot play
with your friends
can’t touch the
swings the monkey
bars the slide
can’t have a
birthday party when
you turn eight
next week can’t
go to school
can’t visit your
grandparents
your little cousins

in the fourth
week of this
new regime, I
hear myself say
no no no and
realize that in
normal times to
withhold these simple
joys from you
would be cruel –

but these are
not normal times
here is my
wish as your
mother: that one
day when you
are grown you
will understand these
days are filled
with the “no”
of love which
opens the door
to a million
days of yes


From the series, "Bathtub Pandemic Poems"

Poem