It’s been a year of many long months of staying home interspersed with shots and a booster, reading homework over a computer, lots of take-out pad thai to break up the kitchen’s monotony, and a closing in of my world which had already grown small after high school. But I count myself lucky in that we didn’t lose anyone to COVID; my parents, while now separated, are evolving into strong people who are a lesson in growth and resilience; and the virtual world turned out to be accessible and enthralling in terms of connecting with other people. I realized that whatever waits on the other side of this pandemic will undoubtedly be influenced by our collective experiences, and my hope is that we keep the best of what we learned and disregard the rest. 

I’d like to share my wishes to all of you, but especially my disabled brothers and sisters who have had the cards stacked against them even before the word “pandemic” was lifted from history books and thrust into our current lexicon. I wish you love above all.

 

Sights Unseen Will Sustain Even the Weakest If Given a Glimpse From Time to Time

People will look back on this year through many lenses
each one finely tuned to the iris of the beholder
which observed the comings and goings of life all around us.
Some noticed the way time slowed to a crawl
others resented its morphing into a sludge of mixed messages and poor news
while others chose to ignore the fears which stood in the way of the return to normalcy.

I choose to sharpen my focus on the diamond-pointed head of the stylus
which aims to capture life’s lessons in the book of life
there to serve as witness for future generations
– if we survive, that is –
to let our future kin learn from our terrible mistakes.
How will we fare, I wonder?
It’s certain to be ugly, that much is clear
and where our opinions differ will reflect our political beliefs.

Instead, let us take turns writing down the things that sustained us
things like the smell of salt from the ocean on a June day
the sudden burst of beauty as you turn a corner into a sunset
the wind blowing smoke from a fire into your laughing eyes
friends dropping off gifts on the porch unasked
long mornings tucked into your bed with the hum of a sleeping household above
the wide open afternoon waiting with predictability
writing poems and songs to yourself that will never be written down
unhappiness followed by long stretches of contentment.
We take these discomforts because how else will we recognize true pleasure?

Let us forge a telescope made of titanium
the lenses shaped concave from tears
we’ll point it towards the horizon where the eastern sun waits
where our eyes naturally turn every morning.
Let us take a collective breath
as we find new ways to love
to know each other
to make a better world.
Hand the telescope around until everyone gets a turn
knowing this one truth:
without you there is one less person to love in the world.

-Niko Boskovic

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