Covert Covid

  Covert Covid

I spent so much time as a child hiding and waiting that I am

really good at doing this thing that we have to do right now.

So we hide and we wait but we’re not really sure how long we have to do this.

So I know that’s why I am getting itchy skin and restless legs syndrome.

And I find most other people really hard to take.

A policeman on the street corner near to me

yells at an old lady. Construction workers spit in your path. Mask wearers versus non-mask wearers have set battle lines and there is going to be a fight this Saturday at 2:04 PM on the corner of Harrison and Santa Rosa. A duel.  Sharp tongues used as weapons and nobody has a second. Or a third or even the first. A first.

 Someone asked me what it was like the first time I knew I was in love. I told them it was so long ago I couldn’t remember.

I guess it might honestly be right now with my puppy who jumps on my head in the early morning but does it so gently it feels like butterflies on my eyes. The first time she did it I was astonished.

 I force myself to leave the house. Yesterday I went to the dentist and it was terribly exciting. I have a canker sore. She asked me if I was stressed. Then we both couldn’t stop laughing.

 On NPR two scientists announced that the general population was drinking too much. For some reason I have always hated the obvious.

The biggest thrill is going to the supermarket. Now I’m eating things like tuna melt and macaroni and cheese balls. Before too long I’ll be a chubby old lady. I don’t really care. Yesterday my cousin said he didn’t really care either.

I’ve always loved that particular cousin. It’s hot now and it might be hot for a while.

 I can’t hold my breath underwater anymore as I  feel like I’m drowning even if I’m not in the pool.             

The Best Memory

The best Fall I remember happened outside of Paris due

north near Chambord in November maybe October

when the Beaujolais Nouveau was released along with

me…I walked out

the door of the inn we stayed in

while you drank with our host.

I wandered following troughs of wet leaves marking

the crusades and the dark fall  all yellow

smelling of dank and my life as an

obedient pathfinder Joan of Arc

wanting you to worry I was lost

yet  knowing you never would.

Hours later I reluctantly returned just as I used

to at 8 and still no one noticed.

I think we made love that night

as we usually did but the bed was small, you

said, as you moved across the parquet floor

to the adjacent one

and closer to your children across the

Atlantic and I imagined

us leaving in the morning croissants uncurled

and me dressed in black because you said it was

best and before I knew it we were back in

California and you were married again

yet I was still outside of Paris in November

in 1996 longing for something I had felt

for a brief moment but never again.

What I mean

Autonomy

like monotony

but without the pendulum

marking time.

This time

Is monotonous

but for the autonomous

It’s fine

For a time.

What I’m Really Saying about life in California

I’m beginning to see

I need no one after a time.

I’m preparing for the lifeboat,

the buoy,

the evacuation of the planet,

no packing, everyone is coming.

I’m leaving everything

behind.

It’s meaningless.

People come and go.

I’m trying to be brave.

Now I realize people want to hear hope from me as I’m old.

So I hand them some perfectly ripe

tomatoes from my garden,

tell them how to chop the basil

add the olive oil,

mix with hands.

Serve at room temperature

perhaps outside with the sun

fighting to make its way through the smoke just for one last time.

It’s good to eat with others

as things digest more easily.

The Introvert

                                               Introvert

I can’t tell people

I like how it is now:

“Da Viwus”

as Rosemary calls it,

the restlessness gone.

 No days of yoga,

 no decisions,

few people, puppy

watching

the main activity.

I only want to see children

swim in the pool making

light of alligators and yellow cheese slices

made of plastic and air. The in breath

and the out breath like hand bellows

in my belly, welcoming and productive.

“What if it is like this forever?”

There will always be children.

I must keep this secret.

Along with the other

introverts of the world.

Someone Asked me

Someone Asked me How I Start a Poem

Someone asked me how I start a poem

And I said it had to do with scent,

I remember, summer 1957,

being underwater and chlorine and the vivid

look of other swimming beings.

Play “Tea Party”

“Why?”

I never understood “Tea Party”

or the scent of afternoon grass

in Connecticut

in June.

Lying there, listening to

airplanes floating, hawks looking

for sex, prey,

safety.

We lay there

among the blades, clipped,

eyes gliding across summer blue

skies reading cloud clusters like

braille translating childhood.

No language for bewilderment.

Praying

WORD FOR THE DAY

Praying. It doesn’t have to be the blue iris, it could be weeds in a vacant lot, or a few small stones; just pay attention, then patch a few words together and don’t try to make them elaborate, this isn’t a contest but the doorway into thanks, and a silence in which another voice may speak.

MARY OLIVERVISIT GRATEFULNESS.ORG