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Pandemic Poetry & Art Healing Project


Erika Justine

Keep moving 

Find a way 

Try harder 












Not yet

Where is the time

Is this the moment 


Connect, but 

Still making way

Almost there 


Caitlin Madison


Erika Justine


About the poem:

It was just another morning in quarantine when I was given the gift to take a minute for myself  a chance to check into my inner thoughts when I was offered this poem experience.


We had just moved to a new home yet still tending to the one in another state. The kids were calling for breakfast and my husband just ran out for coffee when I stepped away to sit down and write.


Single words came to mind instantly. This pressure to just keep pushing through it all, that we’re all going to make it through this just fine. But I’m not fine. I’m falling apart. This words spilled onto the paper so fast I didn’t even read it till the end, and when I did... I cried. It had been the first breath I took for myself in a while.


Erika Justine is from Washington state. Mother of two. Creative painter, herbalist, yogini and dreamer.

Caitlin Madison


About the painting:
This poem spoke to me immediately — it practically screamed at me from the screen. It so beautifully and completely captured my own feelings that I couldn’t put to words.


I painted what I felt, and what I felt reading the poem. It’s a self-portrait of sorts but feels more like a journal entry — something imperfect and deeply personal that I wouldn’t normally share.


I created it over a period of two days, with continuous interruptions: “Mom, I’m hungry,” (let me switch the laundry, empty the dishwasher, play hide-and-seek,) “Mom can I watch this?” (walk the dog), “Mom, Mom, MOM”....


The woman in the painting is me. Maybe she’s pausing or holding her breath? But she’s also moving, she’s doing, she’s carrying — with the weight of the world inside her and crashing over her in waves. She also has strength and resolve while she holds everything up, keeping it from spilling over.


I am a mom and a midwife-on-hiatus. I sneak art-making into the cracks of my life and I am working to make more space for it. For now, it’s my outlet and my therapy when I can squeeze it in. 


To keep the creativity going, Erika began painting the same day she wrote her poem. Two artists who have never met chose an almost identical color palette for this poem....

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