Joe Cottonwood

SHELTER IN PLACE: ESSENTIAL SERVICE

Your eyes are an essential service.
Be witness.

Your bird feeder is an essential service.
For you, for them.

Your smile is an essential service.
For us.

Your ukulele is an essential service.
Even when alone.

Your garden is an essential service.
May flowers bloom, may pea vines grow.

Your children are an essential service.
Teach. Keep safe. Spread joy.

Your hands are an essential service.
Wash. Wash again.

Your voice is an essential service.
Speak, sing to us of love.


By day, JOE COTTONWOOD has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician for most of his life. By night, he is the author of nine published novels, two books of poetry, and a memoir. He grew up in Maryland, bonded Appalachian, and now lives in the coastal mountains of California where he built a house and raised a family under (and at mercy of) giant redwood trees.

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