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poetry Quarantine

“Even Andrew Cuomo finds time to call his mother,” explains Oregon poet Christine Hamm, addressing the emotional impact of the long quarantine.

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By Christine Hamm

Even Andrew Cuomo finds time to call his mother, 

says the text I send to my firstborn son, 

referring to the governor of New York 

whose current job is attending 

to a global pandemic 

with the world’s epicenter in his state. 

“My mother is not expendable,” 

the governor says while the whole world listens, 

including presumably, 

the President of the United States, 

whose own deceased mother 

one tends to wonder about. 

It is at times like these that I remember 

my son has two parents, 

one of whom is not me; 

and two sets of genes, 

none of which could be described as 


Yet I have no doubt my son loves me dearly 

and, by no means, considers me expendable. 

Au contraire

more likely he considers me invincible, 

despite my status as a member 

of the frail elderly. 

But, truth be told, we are all human, 

and now while touching is forbidden, 

feeling is uppermost, 

which likely explains the reason why 

now, more than ever, 

even Andrew Cuomo finds time to call his mother. 

Prior to moving to Portland, Oregon in 2016, Christine Hamm spent 20 years as poet laureate for The Concord Monitor (NH), summarizing the previous year in rhyme for its annual New Year's editorial page. She also wrote feature articles, primarily Arts & Entertainment, for that paper and other local, state and national publications for more than a decade before serving five terms as a member of the New Hampshire legislature. She has interviewed numerous writers and poets, and studied with Pulitzer-Prize-winning poet and MacArthur Fellow, Charles Simic, at the University of New Hampshire.