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Plague Year

We have moments
not lives. There’s a sudden breeze. Sweet scent.
One of our girls
puts a paw on her sister’s. The news is bad,
then worse, then off.
The president is everywhere. Bad and worse
and always. The news is numbers and people
choking on numbers
and people choking for air in hospital beds.
The children ride their bikes 
through the neighborhood, if they’re related.
They cross the street 
and look blankly at one another at a distance
if not. We inside
do not feel related to anything. 

My father got off the phone at the hospital
and never came back. 
He could have been any one of seventy million
American fathers,
but he wasn’t. The house is ours and everything 
and less than before. It ages as quickly as we do.
The scent on the breeze was a moment.
The note from an old love, sick now,
a moment. Give me more than this moment,
I’m asking. Give me new news,
numbers. And calls. My father and my country. 

Thin voices intone that life will be different,
but even the days lack difference
and color. Tuesday is married to Friday,
Sunday and Monday glance at one another
through a mirror 
and wave wispy hands. The old love 
is recovering. The new way of passing time,
after clicking keys to find food,
is staring out a window the same way 
our girls do: with all our expectation, and none.

In whispers, up late, we remember our lives.








Posted 05/11/20
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