Laughter

Standing in the rain watching my daughter, behind the socially distanced spaced out row of spectators, I hear a sound through the downpour steadily pummeling my borrowed umbrella. It takes me a moment, but then I realize two women cozied up together beneath their umbrella are laughing.

On the wet field, the girls are playing hard. Their ponytails and masks and uniforms are sodden. Many are covered with mud. Beyond the field, patches of pale gold leaves glow in the misty rain.

For a moment, I have the sense this sums up the pandemic — alone and isolated with my mask and raincoat and umbrella — and yet together. I stand there, happy the girls are playing, listening to the laughter of strangers through the downpour.

The apparition of these faces in the crowd:
Petals on a wet, black bough.

— Ezra Pound, ‘In a Station of the Metro’