Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Somewhere and Sunflowers

 I could say Somewhere there be sunflowers. I could be cute, but not today. Today I just offer these two that were published online in Antonym in April.


On the radio a story about the fresh air policy
in German schools
windows opened every twenty minutes
and left open
for five

to let air circulate
among the spirited children
who can’t be trusted
to keep their masks on

Later, I read about the British
tb epidemic in the 1940’s
the sanatoriums in the mountains
where the sickest patients
slept on verandahs hoping the fresh air
would scour their ravaged lungs

while waiting for a cure
an inoculation
a pick and axe to mine the troubles
out of the internal cave
of their wasted body cavity

Tonight the president sings —

Covid Covid Covid Covid

to barefaced followers
How many hold the scourge
in their most delicate tissues,
mouth, tongue, mucous membranes
eyes, disguising hostility
as truth

While we hustle from car
to home, groceries clutched tight
masks on snug
We give up on not touching anything
except each other
We scrub scrub scrub the germs away
fearing the cold that drives us inside
not so strong as British tb patients
not so trusting as German schoolchildren
Soon, we tell ourselves, things will get better
Somewhere, we tell ourselves,
there is science
there is hope.


Sunflowers, Rain and the Plague

On the hutch
in front of my window
sunflowers slow dance
gaze through newly rain-washed
panes, moving together
in the artful confines
of their hand-blown
glass vase

their yearning yellow heads
tracking the sun
the world outside
lurch like a drunken
blue rain asymmetric
as a heart
skipping a beat

In our flattened world
we eat three day old tuna salad
wash four day old
dishes so we can
do it all again

Once Plague was something
from history books
when hygiene was careless
for both the living
and the dead

Now we struggle
to remember
the day of the week
and to change the sheets
take out the trash
comb our tangles
as if the world were easing
into spring

like any other year.

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