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  • NYS Writers Institute

Poetry Friday: "... when the sun is sheltered with clouds"

Photo by Amy Nedeau
Photo by Amy Nedeau

For today's Poetry Friday post, we're sharing a recent poem by Amy Nedeau titled "Structure."

While its theme is related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our collective sense of isolation, it seems appropriate on this gray and rainy Friday here in Albany.

Amy was a participant in the 2019 NYS Writers Institute Community Writers Workshop. She submitted her poem to a call for submissions for the upcoming edition of our Trolley journal, which will be focused on writings related to the COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine, isolation, and coping with it all.

Amy is a University at Albany graduate with degrees in English and anthropology. She grew up in Buffalo and currently resides in Waterford.

Here is her poem titled "Structure"



I’m woken at 3 am by a future that might have been.

My stomach doesn’t have

the same shut down button as my computer

and spins in loading circles all night,

all day too.

3 am/ 3 pm are one

when the sun is sheltered with clouds

and gray, vacant walls become security blankets

The only stability is speculation:

How long

Will there be enough

Will we make it

Scarcity and unfamiliarity

breed anxiety twins

that run through my brain

like angry toddlers

keeping me from my yoga mat

and coloring all over my escapism books

making them illegible

This gift of time

is lost in scrolls of panic posts.

I haven’t cried

as though I don’t know which emotion

to map onto this

unstained page

I breathe slow, try to center

my own arms

the only ones allowed to embrace me


Every rainfall, the ground water pushes up on the concrete floor of the basement

an uneven vein has formed and soaks as though perspiring under pressure.

Soon the walls will do the same, the repairman says

then the joists will shift, the foundation affected.

We can’t change the weather, he says

Only reroute its effects

It will always come


The dog walks dutifully

confused by three in one day,

but not upset.

Maybe this is all we have now

a postman’s vigilance

(neither snow nor rain nor virus)

to be outdoors.

I’m not the only one.

Our once empty routes are full

and we turn

step aside

turn again

to avoid sharing air.

Can she even tell these days apart?

We’re all losing that ability

the more we become like dogs

Thank you, Amy, for sharing your poem. We look forward to publishing "Structure" along with poems, essays, and short fiction from more than 70 writers when we publish Trolley next week.


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