Poetry and Lights 2022

Sowing in a Pandemic Time 


By Chana Kraus-Friedberg 

Charlotte is watering the tomato seedlings 

perched in her window. 

“I started them over there, in that window.” 

she points with her chin. 

“But I realized the problem was, I guess, 

I don’t keep those blinds open very much, 

so they weren’t getting enough sun.” 

She stands back and examines the plants 

with a satisfied, parental air. 

“They’re using the water better now,” 

she says. 


When I think of the future these days, 

even feeding my own body seems futile, 

My gut clenches tight with disgust at the yank of my need. 

But her pleasure seems uninhibited by the uncertainty 

Of spring, the virus-ridden world where 

These plants might (might!) one day bear fruit. 

It’s not hope, exactly — for the first time I see this — 

But it makes her courageous: 

The ability to cherish what is yet unformed, 

The will to tend to what is not now and might not ever 

be complete. 


 Chana Kraus-Friedberg has written poetry, on and off, since she was 6 years old. She is the winner of the 2020 Ritzenhein Emerging Poet Award. Her first collection of poems, “Grammars of Hope,” was published in 2021 by Finishing Line Press.  

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