Under Quarantine

I watch her watch her mother wave

goodbye through the window

of her room in assisted living,


each pressing a single hand

against the glass pane,

palm to palm, as if in prayer,


a gesture lasting but a moment

before daughter, a masked

store clerk, departs for work—


their loneliness an orchid

dropping its last leaf.

John Sweeder’s poetry has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Shantih, Better Than Starbucks, and Haiku Journal, among other venues. His first book of poetry, Untethered Balloons, was published in March of 2021 by Adelaide Books, New York/Lisbon. Now a retired professor, John was born and raised in Northeast Philly and taught at La Salle University for 30 years.