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Posted by:
December 7, 2020


The question

Ringing in my ears

Where is that sound coming from?

The siren blurring in my mind.


I’ve missed alarms.


Slept through them

Unaware and incorporating

Them into my dreams

Only until my head ached

From the sound

Awakening me out of danger.


Merging two worlds

Half-awake and half-asleep

Maybe this is why

I slept through my first alarm

For the first day of kindergarten

Arriving late, unable to break the mirage.


Older and more used to the

Rhythmic beatings.

The sound shattering one world

For me to enter another.

No longer evading reality.

My body embracing comings and goings

Traveling between states of mind.


The moment time stopped.

I existed only on autopilot

Unable to process the beeps

In my ears. Instead, I was caught up

The beating of my chest,

Quickened unable to slow down.

I was left wondering

how silence could be so loud.


COVID-19 leaving me to question

Where is that sound coming from?

The mirage was the reality

I am awakening for the first time

Still holding the ringing in my ears

While the alarm has been turned off.

Only now processing the ghost of change.


I’ve missed alarms.


Slept through them

Until they have turned off

Freed to dream and yet lost time.


Hoped that in waiting

Pressing a snooze

Things would go back to normal

Forgetting you cannot turn back the clock

You only lose time heading back to sleep

Having to hurry faster

Once you wake.


I’ve missed alarms.

I was inspired to write “Alarm” while reflecting on the changes COVID-19 has had on me. Recently I’ve been thinking about how long it took me to realize that COVID-19 wasn’t going to simply pass and be waited out but would require long-term changes. COVID-19 is something that is continuing into the new year and for this piece I wanted to convey my own sense of alarm in this recognition. In this poem, I explore how time has simultaneously felt fast and slow, which has felt dreamlike using the sound of an alarm.


I invite you with my poem to reflect on this year and to write about how COVID-19 has disrupted your daily life but also how you have managed. Personally, I struggled to put into words how COVID-19 has changed things, but I’ve begun to process my feelings through writing. I hope that this poem can help you explore your own experiences during COVID-19.


Elizabeth Elliott

CGE Intern

Studying Biology and Women’s and Gender Studies