Virtually Two Miles from School

by Katherine Laufman

Ear fearlessly pressed against 
my teenage daughter’s door, 
unobtrusive like a female British detective.
DCI Jane Tennyson would be proud.

My girl is laughing in blossom
bursts, like the shifting spring breeze.
Toes on warm floorboards, knees balancing
a crackling laptop. 

She’s a virtual girl, a “Zoomie,” 
her classroom and its people piped
into her room. At first a sloppy pandemic
epiphany, now an exhausting necessity.

In a Zoom breakout room, 
they’re breaking down
genetic code until the connection
breaks: disrupting her signal, 
stinging sharp, like a sudden ousting
from locker talk. Her friends, far off,

Tensing with her verbal vacancy, 
I begin whispering an unheard
reminder, our daily mantra: 
“Give yourself grace, 
even when the show on the screen
goes on without you.”

My breath dammed, bursting only
when I know she is reconnected;
her room once again resounding
with far off familiar voices
falling like
in the garden.

Katherine Laufman lives in Northern California and  is a former Special Education Teacher and small town newspaper editor. She has a B.A. in English from Colorado State University. She had several poems published when she was fresh out of college, then life happened.She is enjoying her renewed fascination with writing poetry after a 28 year hiatus. Sabiyha Prince is an anthropologist, artist, and author based in Washington, DC.  Her books and essays explore urban change and African American culture, and her paintings and photo collages grapple with memory, identity, kinship and inequality.

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