DEPLOYMENT. (As published in Collateral Journal)

This vague anxiety

We’re feeling

Maybe it makes

Meals taste off

Tulips and daffodils of


Seem less vibrant

Grey days more


This tightness just under

Your ribcage

Doesn’t wash off

In the shower

Spins thoughts

Around your mind

While you lie in bed

Too tired to chase them

Too tired to let them go

Sleep comes late

You surrender to

Wakefulness too early

Children can feel it too

A knotted fist behind

Their tender bellybuttons

Making their favorite meal


bath time, tearful

instead of bubbling with


story time barely

soothes enough to make

eyelids heavy

you want to sleep

but crusted dishes

and heaps of knotted

grass stained laundry

distract you

until anxiety roars back

as nightmares or a wet bed

and you go back to soothing

Your child, yourself

Wait at home

Feeling powerless

To protect

Ones you love

Not under your roof

Can only love

From a distance

Just waiting for the

War against a tiny

Virus to be won

Let me name

This anxiety for you

We’ll call it

“The Deployment Blues”

Anne Ward-Masterson