Gooney Birds catlin.wolfard

The drone of a plane awakens me out of a peaceful slumber. They’re coming to save us! Like paratroopers landing on the beaches of Normandy. But history shows what happened on D-Day. And there will be casualties of war.

I’ve awakened into a bad dream and strain to hear the ghost planes –those ghost riders, phantom fighters my husband heard as a Coast Guard patrolling Midway in the 80s. Islands isolated except for the gooney birds.


Petty Officer Gunn
Petty Officer Gunn, Midway Island, 1980’s

I roll over, cover my head with the quilt, shelter in place wrapped in survivor’s guilt. While we don’t have it as bad as Anne Frank and the others hiding in a tiny secret annex nor are our grandchildren living in filthy cages, I suffer to think I’ll never get to hold my little lovebirds again.

Even if the quarantine is lifted, without a vaccine or a cure, we’ll never get back to normal. Daycares are petri dishes full of germs, and the grandkids bring colds home like artwork to post on the fridge.

I’ll live with anxiety wondering if a soldier of death will come knocking on the door or just shoot first. I know there are other lonesome doves out there. I’m grateful to be isolated with my husband, within the walls of our 860 square foot bunker, our gilded cage during this tarnished age. I’m a survivor of misfortune, he’s a survivor of cancer. But can we outlive this pandemic like soldiers of fortune?

I wonder, after this pandemic, will the gooney be the only species left? Does a gooney suffer survivor’s guilt?


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