minerva
A Family of Doctors Treating Covid
by Margaret Duda

My son, my daughter, and my son-in-law don PPEs,
Examine patients, offer assurances, ignore risks to treat,
Then come home to undress, wash clothes, and shower,
Before feeding families also dependent on their care.
Already exhausted, they assist children in virtual classes,
Call others in college, offer spousal support to those they love.
On family zooms, I see lines under their eyes and furrowed brows,
As they join games of Boggle and wish they were in bed asleep.
The days turn into weeks which turn into months of detailed
Tele-med calls to patients at high risk, long shifts at hospitals.
I wait and hear about millions infected, thousands dying, and worry,
Worry about my children working through a pandemic to save lives.

IMAGE: Minerva, Roman goddess of medicine. Detail from painting Pallas and the Centaur by Sandro Botticelli (1482). 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Mother to four and grandmother to seven, I worry about everyone in my large family, but that is what mothers do.  I have not been able to hug them since Christmas because of my age and risk factors, but am trying to stay well for myself and for them. I know the doctors did not dream of being in this position someday, and they work with doctors who have gotten ill themselves. I cannot imagine the courage it takes for them just to go to work. Most patients do not realize they have other lives, where their families depend on them as well. I pray for an end to the pandemic so that I can breathe again.

nw portrait

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: A professional author, photographer, and jewelry designer, Margaret Duda has had her work published in The Kansas Quarterly, The Michigan Quarterly Review, Crosscurrents, The South Carolina Review, The Green River Review, Fine Arts Discovery, The Green River Review, and Venture.  One of her short stories made the distinctive list of Best American Short Stories. She also had a play produced in Michigan, has had several books of nonfiction published, and took travel photos for the New York Times for 10 years. She lives in Pennsylvania and is now working on the final draft of an immigrant family saga novel set in a steel mill town, and is writing poetry to find a shred of sanity during this pandemic.