Cuantificando Lo Esencial

by Sandy Vázquez

For me, tackling this topic felt like a really nuanced task. I wanted to make sure that I honored the specific ways my family has navigated the pandemic while also acknowledging the privilege existing in our situation. Ultimately, my goal with this piece was to highlight the daily practices my family ritualized in an effort to personalize the global health crisis we are experiencing collectively.
Prior to and even after the development of a vaccine, many countries failed to effectively prevent the spread of COVID-19, despite having the resources to do so. For example, in the United States, instead of allowing ts workers to stay home and out of harm's way, people were forced to work in dangerous conditions for their survival, while at the same time being valorized as "essential." As vaccines become more widely available, the poet writes "The vaccine gives us space to breathe with a little more confidence" and later, "and at the very same time, the vaccine is a symptom of a government, a world that prefers protecting capitalism, it’s economy, before protecting its people." Vaccines are an important and life-saving medical breakthrough but they are only one part of the many solutions that could help in preventing the deadly spread of COVID-19.


Write a poem that begins by celebrating the "essential" people in your life. Then, if the opportunity arises while you are writing, describe the many ways we might protect those "essential" people from the threats they face.

Ghostline #1

_____ is essential, _____ is essential..."

Ghostline #2

"Vaccines are just one part of the solution. It doesn't require a vaccine to..."