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Volume 28, Number 7—July 2022
Another Dimension

Emerging from an Isolation Cocoon, 2022

Ron LouieComments to Author 
Author affiliation: University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA

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“The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”

—Attributed to George Carlin


The security layers started peeling away, seemingly too soon.

Once constricting, every movement and moment a struggle,

who would guess that the loosening would be so worrying?


Preposterous miracles had manifested themselves, albeit

imperfectly; so one emerges, reviving afresh in the sunlight, imbibing

the unmasked scents, even as the serial-killing fiend remains free.


A kaleidoscope of butterflies is what one calls a mass fluttering;

that term could well apply to humans here, self-identifying their

unique variants and varieties of existence, behaviors, and beliefs.


The excess of loss has been unthinkable, and not to be forgotten.

Preventive interventions were knowingly imprecise; lacking their own

protections, from denials, was another hazard for the republic’s health.


Poets have long lyricized ideal truth, but the pandemic taught

how fragile truth can be, the fragile beauty of a glistening bubble,

buffeted almost to bursting by a cacophony of ravenous twittering.


Yet one can now stretch out shimmering wings, so to speak,

with the brash confidence befitting a monarch, fully expecting

to start a new cycle in life, despite the circling shadows overhead.

Dr. Louie is a clinical professor of Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology, at the University of Washington, Seattle. He is interested in medical epistemology and blogs about dementia and caregiving with that perspective. He previously published the poem Isolation Cocoon, May 2020—After Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream (


Cite This Article

DOI: 10.3201/eid2807.220488

Original Publication Date: June 10, 2022

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Ron Louie, UW Department of Pediatrics, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, WA 98199, USA

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Page created: May 12, 2022
Page updated: June 10, 2022
Page reviewed: June 10, 2022
The conclusions, findings, and opinions expressed by authors contributing to this journal do not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Public Health Service, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the authors' affiliated institutions. Use of trade names is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by any of the groups named above.