Grab and Go School Lunches, Summer 2020

By Robin Wright

Yellow caution tape covers
slides, swings, jungle gyms.

The playground empty
like bellies of children

who wait in vehicles that line
the street leading to the school.

Volunteers wear gloves and masks,
pass food to pacify hunger pangs.

A woman and two young girls
on bikes circle around the cars.

After they move through the line,
backpack and basket filled with food,

I hear them laugh as they sit
under an old oak tree, picnic

with their grab and go lunches,
play board games, work puzzles, read.

Carefree for a few hours as Coronavirus
rages on, hungry for more flesh.

Robin Wright’s work has appeared online and in anthologies. She has had a Pushcart Prize nomination and her first chapbook, Ready or Not, was recently published by Finishing Line Press.

I live in the state of Indiana in the U.S., and I happen to live close enough to the back side of an elementary school that I can walk out my front door and see the school and the street leading to it. I started working from home in March 2020, and as summer arrived, the school offered the grab and go school lunches for the children three days a week. There was a window of about two hours when the lunches could be picked up. I was stunned at the number of cars lined up waiting for the food. Many got there well before the start time of the giveaway. I felt both depressed that so many needed the assistance and relieved that the school offered this much needed resource. My poem was then born.

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2 years ago

evokes a real situation without being sentimental

Robin Wright
Robin Wright
2 years ago
Reply to  Eithne

Thank you, Eithne!

Kathryn Knorr Green
2 years ago

I love the juxtaposition of the carefree children with the raging virus… It really grounds the reader in the duality of the world we live in. As a parent I am constantly in this state of heaviness over the world, and bouncing around of children wanting snacks and attention. It’s a state that is really hard to process sometimes…

Robin Wright
Robin Wright
2 years ago

Thank you, Kathryn. You are so right about this balancing act we’re all in that has been even tougher with the pandemic.

Poetry and Covid-19 ARCHIVE (This website archives the over 1000 poems submitted by over 600 poets, and viewed by over 100,000 from over 125 countries during the Covid-19 pandemic, June 2020-June 2021). Thank you to all who took part in the Poetry and Covid project.

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