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"We Dream of Freedom," a poem by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Photo of vintage typewriter covered in autumn leaves taken on the grounds of a winery in Woodinville, WA.
Photo taken by Gailey at a winery in Woodinville, WA.

Poet Jeannine Hall Gailey yearns for life after coronavirus. This post is part of 805 Lit + Art’s “My Home Library” blog series that features writers and artists enjoying their home libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic. 805 is proudly published by the Manatee County Public Library System, and we hope this series will help people show off their home libraries, find comfort in books, and feel a connection to the library during this difficult time.

We Dream of Freedom

Stuck inside our houses,

avoiding plagues, virus vectors,

like we would hide from a storm

that lasts forever, a storm of human breaths.

What will you do when you are free?

We dream of bookstores, concerts,

friends, lovers, family, not at arms’ length.

We dream, impractically, of cherries.

For now, we enter hospitals alone and never leave.

For now, we keep the doors locked.

We bring in bread and apples,

wave at others from a distance.

Query a quarantine, what will we learn

from lockdown? A coronavirus, an angelic

halo of viral RNA, sweeps over our cities like wings.

We didn’t plan for any of this, the quiet,

the gardening, the closet full of bleach.

When will we run out of coffee?

So we dream of breaths unmasked again,

a time when we are unafraid of another human’s

song, a time we won’t fear what the wind brings.


Gailey poses by her home library.
Gailey poses by her home library.

Jeannine Hall Gailey served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She's the author of five books of poetry, including her most recent, Field Guide to the End of the World (Moon City Press). Her work appeared in journals such as Ploughshares and Poetry. Her web site is Twitter and Instagram: @webbish6.

In her home library, she has a fiction shelf, a poetry shelf, a poetics shelf, a shelf of research materials (fairy tales, mythology, pop culture studies), and a shelf of her own publications. She also has an official library cart on wheels for current reading material.


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