Volume 28, Number 7—July 2022
Emerging from an Isolation Cocoon, 2022
“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
—Attributed to George Carlin
The security layers started peeling away, seemingly too soon.
Once constricting, every movement and moment a struggle,
who would guess that the loosening would be so worrying?
Preposterous miracles had manifested themselves, albeit
imperfectly; so one emerges, reviving afresh in the sunlight, imbibing
the unmasked scents, even as the serial-killing fiend remains free.
A kaleidoscope of butterflies is what one calls a mass fluttering;
that term could well apply to humans here, self-identifying their
unique variants and varieties of existence, behaviors, and beliefs.
The excess of loss has been unthinkable, and not to be forgotten.
Preventive interventions were knowingly imprecise; lacking their own
protections, from denials, was another hazard for the republic’s health.
Poets have long lyricized ideal truth, but the pandemic taught
how fragile truth can be, the fragile beauty of a glistening bubble,
buffeted almost to bursting by a cacophony of ravenous twittering.
Yet one can now stretch out shimmering wings, so to speak,
with the brash confidence befitting a monarch, fully expecting
to start a new cycle in life, despite the circling shadows overhead.
Dr. Louie is a clinical professor of Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology, at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is interested in medical epistemology and blogs about dementia and caregiving with that perspective. He previously published the poem Isolation Cocoon, May 2020—After Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/11/20-2993_article).
Original Publication Date: June 10, 2022