The Peter Pan Prize
Mary O'Keefe Brady “Standing on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door”
Grace Przywara, Ruth ILG,John Blake
Standing on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door
I hear Sebastian at the sink washing
his hands, singing Happy Birthday—
twice as he’s been taught.
While his voice, off-key and unselfconscious,
bellows out the words, I picture little viruses
on candle tips being extinguished with puffs
of breath, laughing children clamoring
for the piece of cake with Spiderman
red and blue icing. I wish I had pulled out
my phone to record his seven-year-old voice—
a pandemic moment to cherish
like Polaroids from the past.
"Standing on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door" captures a distinct moment in our shared history that is both surprising and quintessential. Anyone living during the Covid-19 pandemic and the early days of quarantine will immediately relate to this poem and the way it deftly collapses the past with the present.