The Sounds of Virus
by d.r. sanchez

The dogs know
News shared loudly throughout the neighborhood
Something is keeping their humans home
Happy days of rubbed bellies and snuggles
But they smell the fear

The birds know
Normal springtime chatter eerily louder
Something is muting the highway noise
Busy days over empty streets and towns
They sense the tension

Holding the leash
Outside my house, I try to hide the cough
I have a virus, not that one…I think
We listen the cacophony of the roarless highway
She barks to her neighbors

NOTE FROM THE AUTBOR: Even “regular” illness in the times of a global pandemic can be scary and isolating. The world stands still, holding its breath, trying not to cough. Our pets and nature’s creatures are confused by the abrupt change in human behavior. I live by a busy interstate highway. The constant roar of traffic is gone. The birds are louder. The neighborhood dogs are talking more excitedly these days rather than in warning. Step outside. Hear the difference.

Debra R Sanchez

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Debra Sanchez has moved over 30 times and has lived in five states in two countries…so far. She leads and attends various writing groups in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, area, and also hosts writing retreats. Her writing has won awards at writers’ conferences in various genres, including children’s stories, poetry, fantasy, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Several of her plays and monologues have been produced and published. Other works have been published in literary magazines, newspapers, and anthologies. Visit her website,, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Her books can be found on Amazon. And My Mother Cried/Y Mi Mama Lloró was awarded “Best Children’s Book of 2017” at The Author Zone (TAZ) awards. Prompted, Prodded, Published: How Writing Prompts Can Help All Writers also received a 2017 TAZ award in the nonfiction category. Raw & Unfinished received a TAZ award in 2018 for poetry. Her most recent children’s book Snow Pants for Isabella/Pantalones de Nieve para Isabella is nominated for a 2020 TAZ award. Her dystopian play Pages: A Library Play (Páginas:Un Cuento de Bibliotecas) was published in 2016 in both English and Spanish. All of her books were published by Tree Shadow Press, where she is also an editor and