Is where the trees
15 years ago
and your neighbors
And where you sit
riding out rainy days
While kids sort socks
And pie bakes in the kitchen
just because it’s Sunday
and you had all the ingredients.
And home is also home
if none of these things follow you,
If you wander or flee or sojourn
hoping for a world in which we all
find rest together at the end
of a long and nameless road.
Last night, I dreamed I finally cried
About everything that’s happened.
Truthfully, I dreamed that we
Were in a morgue, and I saw you
Gasp, recognize a woman’s face,
Glazed and pale, mouth agape and
A crust of pulmonary blood
Staining her bony chin and then
I recognized her, too, and wept.
Up to this point in the crisis
I’ve managed to hold things inside.
Truthfully, I’ve not been at all
Sure what to feel, or how, or when—
I’m still not used to pandemics—
And so all my feelings jumble
And fail to register outside,
Making my face a mirror of
A confused and exhausted soul.
There have been both joys and sorrows
Watching the world change day by day.
Truthfully, I want it to stop
So I can sit still, take a breath,
And let things ooze out on paper
And begin to see what I think
About all this, or anything.
I want to rest, to plead, to rage
And I want to learn how to cry.
But I have been writing what I can,
Breadcrumbs for my future feelings.
Truthfully, I follow a rite—
Approaching life’s holy places
With tender phrases to hold close
Things which defy analysis
Or would be profaned by bare speech—
Pull on the ephod, take the blood
And incense into the presence.
What do you do to fight the rainy-day blues,
To push through the mud, the flood, and thunder
When it’s always spring but never Easter?
At the window watching lightning flicker—
The power, too—feel the pane as it shakes.
What do you do to fight the rainy-day blues?
New life for flowers, snails, mushrooms, and you?
You search in hope for new growth but it seems
That it’s always spring but never Easter.
Each drop’s surface tension is soft heartbreak,
Alone, trapped from within and without, but
That’s how life is with the rainy-day blues.
Like March, love warms and cools and warms again
And the future is clear as mountain fog
When it’s always spring but not yet Easter.
Glory in the mundane. Praise faithful work.
Do the next thing. Rest in what’s done for you.
That’s the way to fight the rainy-day blues—
For right now it’s spring, and soon it’s Easter.
Image: Redbuds, Walker County, Georgia, March 2020.
Each courtesy I am accustomed to
Becomes an act of thoughtless violence,
Posing threats to all save a trusted few.
Streets and schools become a pool of silence.
To stay at home and read a tome or play
A game or bake a pie or pause to cry
Or break a dish or eat a fish or pray
Makes no change to the gray and lukewarm sky.
Lenten paths of mourning lead to brooding,
Rustic joys like bread, butter, and laughter
Keep a light on, my soul now concluding,
“Look up, beauty is now and not after.
What is true is sad; what was good is bad,
Find some fearful symmetry or go mad.”
Image: Fungus, Branch, Moss, Snow—Hamilton County, Tenn., + original watercolor, February 2020.