I have become careless
in this lockdown time
as if this time was out of regular old normal time
This morning, I reached in for blueberries and found them already molded, gone gray
and lettuce wilted to slime
I have become careless with the food someone else gathered from shelves and plunked down in my car trunk
only to be thrown out just after the weekly garbage pick up.
I have become careless with friendships and relations
Calls early on in March and April were tinged with panic and overwrought sentiment
Now most maskless and tired of all the worry,
they have moved on,
leaving me behind closed doors and silent phones.
Squandering these moments,
I have become careless with time itself
as if these hoarded hours will be added on
to the end of my days-
a bonus for being good and careful
it is not unreasonable
to ask for a future.
But at the moment,
future has no form
It is ethereal as the moonlight
cast on dark water.
Reason and desire
will not bring it to fruition
this unseeable time
the fortune tellers crystal ball.
I listen to the men working
on digging a long deep trench
across the road.
Now, no way to get in,
no way to get out.
How appropriate a metaphor
don’t you think-
we are here, either in place
or out in the world,
each with our own freedom in tact.
But we can’t get in or out
of this old world alive,
don’t you know.
And how will the nice lady
who delivers the mail
and gives the small dog treats
ever find her way
with our unasked for mail.
He has taken to worry
not something in his wheelhouse
never had a care in the world
It was always my occupation
until I gave worry up for Lent
and forgot to pick it back up
So now he has become a list maker
and a fine print reader
and a washer of hands singing
an extra verse for good measure
I am happily ensconced in his newly acquired habit
as the worry lines behind his mask
accentuate his beautiful blue eyes
Her husband has died.
I think about that as I fold the laundry
And put your t-shirts away.
How will I know if you have left me?
Standing here at your dresser,
Things emptied from your pockets
Scattered among the photos-
Framed memories of fishing trips,
Your birthday a few weeks before we were married,
Costume parties and the family
Grinning at the camera.
Will your image fade from view
Even in these?
Will what we are become undone
As you become undone?
I can’t think of it
The fantasy too real to dwell on.
Her husband is gone
But you are not.
I smooth the wrinkles from the cotton shirt
And close the dresser drawer.
It has been an unusual Lent
to say the least
The devotional has been an old one I came across
of Henri Nouwen’s from Mt Vernon
on the Prodigal Son
I am broken open
by this old story, this parable of a wayward child
and his truculent brother and loving father
I think of his mother and her fear for her younger son
and the weariness of that sad fear.
The relief and busy-ness of killing
the fabled fatted calf for a celebration and readying for guests,
trying to assuage her eldest sons pouts and consternation,
when all she wants to do is sit quietly
in her chair and be happy her son is home.
And I wonder if those thirty six righteous men are working
their asses off researching the vaccine to save humanity.
Or if they are wandering from place to stay-in-place,
just trying to find a soft chair to sit in
and a cold glass of water to drink.
Its all that ‘second loneliness’ that broke my chest open.
All that second loneliness for the world in all its pain and beauty
All that second loneliness in isolation
All this second loneliness, Lent 2020
Shall we go back to the basics
of being human,
you and I.
First: shelter, food, fire.
Next comes touch and smell,
imprint of our human-ness.
We fold our skin over our beloveds,
a cloud of prayer above our heads,
leaning into each other, though far apart.
We are kin, skin to skin,
though far apart.
I don’t know
I don’t know what grief is ahead
for us my friend
I don’t know what redemption
for old crimes
will be our lot
we have walked in the sun for so long
that as the shadows lengthen
we stand in amazement
at what we are seeing
crows descend on newly seeded fields