Writing the Distance: Melissa Bassham

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, Melissa Bassham provides a poem and Clark Bassham a photograph.

To my littles: About April 2020
By Melissa Bassham

I hope you know, I love you.

Last month,
when the city was pre-pandemic-hunker-bunker down,
I bought a three-pack of whipped cream
(among other things like eggs, and not among toilet paper or dried beans)
from Costco.
I layered whipped cream on your morning oatmeal,
so life would feel more like a party
at our house
and less like
a mandate.
I called you
Pajama Man
and Pirate Girl
based off of your consistent clothing choices.

I deliberately ignored “The Rules of Screentime.”

I wished I had made more children
for you to play with
and then I was simply grateful for what I have.


You watched your friends play from our upstairs window.
You didn’t complain about no more school
or playdates.
You had two parents around
all day long,
every day
You saw science
when a nuthatch couple commandeered a woodpecker’s hole for their nest,
when you tossed your toys from the balcony porch,
and when you coasted down the hill on your bikes.
You experienced math
as you sulked to timeouts,
as you selected books to read aloud,
as you waited days for Amazon deliveries.

We waited.

We up-cycled,
and bicycled.
We cooked,
and cleaned up,
and up.
We soaked up Spring sunshine
when it showed up perfectly on time.
We stayed
We hoped.

And as we look into May, soon,
but not too soon,
the government says businesses will open up.
Maybe we will see friends
Only a few
Only their eyes
above masks.

But we will keep up
And hope.

That’s all we can do
For now.

Melissa is a stay-at-Anchorage-home mom. She squeezes in writing and art between snack-tivities.

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