Shelter in Place


“Bringing us home, To ourselves, Our selves, Our bodies, our shelters…”




“Shelter in Place” was written during the COVID-19 pandemic after getting together with my coresidents for a virtual happy hour and realizing how much I missed everyone, but also how connected we still felt. We had no idea what to expect as trainees, and the pandemic environment was new, unfamiliar, and a little scary, but we had each other. We were just second years then, and we have all graduated from residency now, each doing our own thing. We still keep in touch through a group chat on a nearly daily basis, which is so special. Words cannot express how much I have learned from and how much I love and appreciate each member of our cohort.

We are alone-

Each breath, a solitary breath

Passing into and out of existence,

Each moment, suspended briefly

Dust motes in a sunbeam.

And yet,

Further pause,

As we shut our doors, bar windows, mask faces.

We must go home. And stay home.

Embrace safety that terrifies.

Yet this

Confinement, each singular experience,

Is linked.

Flickering memories, formative moments,

Surfacing uncertainty.

The placid face of a pool,

Hiding its currents beneath,

Moving us,

Far apart, still, closer;

Bringing us home

To ourselves,

Our selves,

Our bodies, our shelters;

Offering a reminder that staying within is okay,


Until we are ready to connect.

Dancing briefly,

Dust motes in a moonbeam,

Our lives gently touch each other,

In time, we closely pass,

Knowing we are all alone,


Dr Fonseca is a fellow in consultation-liaison psychiatry at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Their current fellowship includes a special focus on transgender medicine and reproductive psychiatry. Within APA, they are the current APA Diversity Leadership and SAMHSA Fellowship chair, attending Board of Trustee meetings, and serving on the Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning liaising to the Council on Advocacy and Government Relations. They are also a current ACLP Webb Fellow, serving on the Medical Student Education Subcommittee.

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