Writing the Distance: Kate Boesser

The Covid 19 pandemic is isolating Alaskan writers. We can no longer attend workshops or public readings. The coffee bars where we met with other writers are closed. To bridge these physical gaps, 49 Writers is providing this on-line forum for Alaskans writing the distance. Today, Kate Boesser shares a poem and drawing.


Each day find
A balance between
Overwhelmed and easing along
Wake to feel heavy sadness
Can’t quite clear my eyes
Open my eyes. Maybe just keep them closed.
Donkeys are calling. Dog is barking.
Up to feed and talk to my animals.
Check in with my quiet love
Endlessly reading online.
I question once again, “Is this real? Can’t we be
Normal?” I only want to hug,
To play music in a circle,
To sit over a cup of tea
With friends,
Plan my next trip to Juneau
To see my dad, will I see my dad?
and sisters.
But there’s the distance,
To keep the distance. Even
From those we love, feel safe with,
This fear of might we catch or pass on
A disease.
This has happened before.
100 years ago, too long ago to be
In our social memory.
Remind us, somehow,
How we made it.
Those who lived through plague
Since ancient time
Must have passed down
The need to wait, distance,
Watch death but not be overtaken
By it. Acknowledge fear,
Respond with care
Careful always
To protect oneself first.
And others who somehow were immune,
Who were able to help those sick
Without getting it themselves.
I want to hope I’m descendent
From those who helped,
Not just those who hid
Only protecting themselves.
I want to be one who keeps friends,
Keeps the distance but doesn’t
Lose touch
Because touchstone touch smile
Touch eyes touch voices
Touch returning with hope one day
With patience, one day.

I am so lucky.
I am so hurting.
I am so tired.
I have everything I need.


Kate Boesser lives and writes in Gustavus.

3 thoughts on “Writing the Distance: Kate Boesser”

  1. This is exquisiste, both poem and drawing. You hit the nail on the head. Thank you.

  2. I just finished moving a print of yours (1981 Banish Misfortune 2/15) to a prominent spot in a bedroom of my moms house. It is very happy there, and will be admired by others since now, after all this time it’s landed in a spot where it can be enjoyed!

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