April 05, 2020

Confined, constrained, we wait, worry, watch news, absorb new numbers.

Taped lines define, impose new limits; sanitized boxes of solitude.

Fellow humans – allies, enemies, neither and both.

Spies self-appointed, snitches confronting conspiracy theorists,

Data deniers, China-blamers, seaside scofflaws, furtive churchgoers. (Flatten the curve).

Cruise-ship castaways, floating petri dishes! Pariahs pleading for port.

Borders close, enfolding citizens within, pared into

Family units, soldered shut; masked faces pressed to windowpanes.

Supermarket locusts, online profiteers, two-faced pandemic panic.

Together, alone: coexist, cope. Wary solidarity. (Don’t stand so close to me!)



Outside, the wild ones bustle, springtime business undeterred. Liquid birdsong

Lacing through bright-budded trees as cackling jays swoop.

Chipmunks chatter; squirrels gossip, squabble.

Somewhere a woodpecker hammers industriously.

Night unfurls upon the lake, star-scattered ink, stirred softly by otters and geese.

Moon rides the darkness, looking down from afar, listening to spring peeper lullabies.

Golden-pink dawn; the sun blazes on, inscrutable. Relentless trajectory,

Confusing by its very order the stillness of chaos. (What day is it today?)



Valiant nurses, doctors struggle to subdue 

A creeping, crafty adversary, Spreading silently, swiftly,

Stealing breath and life. Seeding dread and sorrow.

Who lives, who dies? (Wash your hands!)

So quick, so alone, no chance to say goodbye.  

Improvised morgues, ventilator wars.

These numbers have faces, had names.

Elsewhere, empty streets, shuttered shops, silent ghost cities.

Shelter in place. Self-isolate. School on a glowing screen.

Furloughs and layoffs, everything’s cancelled. The working class keeps us supplied.

Subsistence allowances, kitchen table keyboards,

Work as we know it revised (Mommy’s in a meeting!)



In the forests and in the fields, spring primps for her pageant.

The earth breathes respite from abuse.

Marshside, a redwing perches on a scruffy cattail, defending the nest.

Up high in a deep blue sky, cleared of crisscrossed contrails, a crow soars,

Cawing to a distant mate atop a wind-twisted pine.

Rasping, raucous commentary, an eternal tale

Of how pride precedes a fall.




Dread and hope wage warring narratives

What world will rise from this chrysalis?

The story of the aftermath is clouded and unsure

Time alone will yield an answer; our task is to endure.


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