Day 1: Our House – a COVID-19 poem

A slow start for me on Day 1 of Camp NaNoWriMo – 529 words so far. But hey, I’m a night owl, so no problem. I ended up more than making up for it by writing a poem that became way longer than intended! Anyone else starting a new project?


Our House

by Lauren Hallstrom


Everyone I know (and many more I don’t)

live in a house that is painted in a thousand shades of green and blue

and made of clouds, free speech, and walls we never should have put up

before we had to.


In the foyer there is a fountain that runs clear all day—

the fish have come back and made their homes there,

the smog has dissipated and the floors are no longer tracked with mud.

We come here one at a time to breathe.


Over to this room now,

where people are hurting

and coughing and wishing and trying.

Where something has gotten in that doesn’t belong

and it’s a monster under the bed

that everyone just kind of hopes stays put.


The nurses are in the guest rooms

and setting their alarm clocks

and scheduling the next time to

Skype their kids.


Venture out to the kitchen,

if you need to,

where people show up every day to help you get food,

and their hands are always moving.

No shelf will forever remain empty.


And this room here is full of cubicles.

People even sleep capsuled now.

This man is ordering food for his neighbor.

This mom is teaching algebra.

This girl is writing a song that will change the world.


This work-from-home employee saw a paper

airplane fly over his cubicle wall and

fall at his feet and unfold itself and

say in inky letters

It will be okay.


These people are breathing and stretching and breathing.


The dreamers are out on the front porch,

surrounded by different oceans in every direction.

In the distance, there are other houses too,

with lights that look brighter when it’s dark,

like the stars.

I can sit here all night at the shore of my world

and watch the light from every room

grow together.


Published by laurenhallstrom

Lauren is the author of two CIPA EVVY award-winning novels, both written when she was a teen. She writes contemporary fantasy for tweens and young adults. She holds an undergraduate degree in English at Colorado State University and currently works in a public library. More often than not you can find her there - promoting lifelong learning, staring off into space, and dreaming up new stories.

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