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Becoming Accustomed
by Beth Fox

                    Rural NH, April, 2020: two weeks before
                    the expected surge of Covid 19

She works in her country kitchen,
The sun shining in, peepers calling —

there’s a scent of lemon in the air.
It’s a time of distance from others,

away from news feed on
the collapse of the world.

Donning a mask, she takes a break,
walks to the pop-up farmer’s market,

past a brother and sister wrestling,
laughing on the lawn, mom watching.

A couple walks by and waves;
her neighbor walks the dog.

They pass on the rail trail
with a nod, squint of eyes.

At the market, masked vendors
offer fresh Anadama bread,

homemade doughnuts,
blueberry jam that’s low in sugar.

Cars drive by slowly,
checking to see what is there.

She tries reading body language
behind masks, hunched shoulders.

Seeing a couple cling together, she recalls
the Bill Withers’ song, “Lean on Me.”

These are comforts, the ordinary
become extraordinary

during the time of masks.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As the surge of Covid-19 extended to New Hampshire, I felt disbelief, the desire to hang on to normalcy in any way possible. As life changed around me, I wondered what would remain comfortable and familiar.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: New Hampshire is a state rich in the arts and the spoken word. Beth Fox has been drawn to both over the years. She feels fortunate to take part in writer’s groups and workshops, like Alex Peary’s Poet Laureate online series. She has been published in Poet’s Touchstone, The Seacoast Anthology, Avocet, Prey Tell, and The 2010 Poets Guide to NH: More Places, More Poets. A finalist in the Center for the Arts annual poetry contest and Touchstone Member Contest, she contributed to an anthology for Seniors, Other Voices, Other Lives. A retired teacher, she lives in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.