“Dispatch from a Pandemic: Portland, Oregon” by Bonnie Minden Ward


Etiquette for a Dinner Party in a Pandemic


Dear guests, everyone please bring a heater,
dinner will be served outside.

Oh, and bring your own table too. I have
the measuring tape set at six feet.

When you arrive, carrying
your plate, bowl, and spoon,
leave your shoes at the door.

The door will not open, please
go around the back.

Grab a vase of flowers
for your table. We are lucky, aren’t we?
Daffodils, tulips, clematis
all in bloom this early Spring.

One by one, you may don your gloves,
serve up the food I have prepared.

There are paper cups for wine
if you forgot to bring your own.

Let us sit, at our individual tables,
six feet apart,
and raise our glasses.

Shall we toast to flowers?
Or perhaps the moon,
waning now-
I propose Venus, so bright
in the evening sky,

which we can see now,
as all of us, all of us,
have returned

IMG_2298Bonnie Minden Ward was born and raised in Portland. Her poetry was selected for a juried poetry post at Multnomah Art Center in Portland, and also for a public art piece at Greenway Park in Beaverton, Oregon. Her poetry has been published in Voice Catcher and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. She continues to write gratefully with Portland Women Writers.