When was I ever so delighted to roll up my sleeve for a shot? But I am almost giddy the with prospect. Strange times! The bright lights on the former student center meeting room make everyone look radiant. (And I still taste some residue of long-ago excitement hearing Bly and Stafford read here in my undergraduate days.)

Community volunteers staff the registration table. It’s crazy how happy everyone seems, almost a party atmosphere. I haven’t been indoors comfortably at close range with this many people in almost a year. The vaccine somehow gives us permission to be less reserved with each other. This is like Zoom but more . . . real!

My Chewbacca T-shirt amuses the nurse, who administers the almost painless injection. I only half-regret my dumb joke about the microchip. “I’m glad we can laugh at that,” I say. One by one we stand up from our distanced seating area after our 15 minutes’ observation period is over.

Out on the street I smell springtime coming, for us all. The late afternoon sun is pouring molten copper into the trees across the river, the western sky panoramically banded pink and blue. Above, a circling trumpeter swan appears to be searching for something, its wings capturing the lush hues. For the past half-hour my heart has been bobbing up in my chest like an inflated ball in a pool. Now it rises without resistance all the way out of my body.


Thomas R. Smith’s new poetry collection is Storm Island (Red Dragonfly Press, 2020). He lives in River Falls and is still masking up indoors. For more by and about Thomas, find his author page at VolumeOne.org.


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