It’s April and the virus is new.

Spring is here, heralded by a greeting from our oaks, elms, and maples,

as leaves canvas exposed limbs, and become home to the neighborhood wildlife.

Birds sing and squirrels chatter searching for food and mates.


I run at dawn before the sun’s rays heat the pavement.

Strange, jogging in the middle of the street and not dodging cars.

The few people venturing out, are at the McDonald’s and Dunkin drive-thrus.

Pandemic or not, coffee, donuts and egg sandwiches are essential

as are the cooks, bakers, and servers. 


The sky is clear and quiet. No distant roar of the jets. No contrails.

Later I sit on the swing in front of my house.

An old man, with an older dog, walks by.

“Beautiful day,” I say. He nods, as does his dog.

I wave at an Amazon delivery man and enjoy the rays.

The sun feels good on my skin, finally exposed after a long winter.

An adult herds two children. All wear masks.

I wonder what the kids understand.


Police sirens in the distance.

Accident on the highway or something else?

A couple walk by holding hands, enjoying the spring warmth.

Almost makes the day seem normal.


But what is normal?

When will our lives return to normal?

What will normal be?

Maybe in a few months, we’ll know.

Gary Mark Belenke

Oak Park

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