Napo 26

What I Will Tell My Great-Grand Children About the Plague

The sun still rose each morning.
The lovegrass swayed in the wind.
And, if you drove and drove and drove
Into the countryside, you could breathe
And close your eyes and smell citrus,
Like it was any spring day in south Texas.

Our house smelled of coffee and love.
My cat, Rascal, perched on my lap.
Grass snakes and blind snakes and corn snakes
Didn’t know or care. And the snappers off the coast
Had a moment of reprieve since the fishermen
Were afraid of each other for once.

I still had dreams—being lost in a forest,
And there were forests to be lost in, still.
A dirty penny was a thing to fear.
The oranges still tasted sweet,
But I wondered who picked them
In times like these, who braved
The fields to bring a bit of sweetness.
And you have to bless a heart like that.

The president told us all to drink bleach.
Can you believe that? No one listened.
I was in love with a man who brought me coffee
In the afternoons, who fixed my kitchen sink
As I wrote poetry. Some of us quarantined with our hate—
Shut the doors of our hearts, hoarded, wore gloves,
And listened to conspiracy theorists.

Others believed in the miracles of bats
And snakes and nature to create
What it needs to bring us to our knees,
Just in time. Most days,
I didn’t even bother to get dressed
Or brush my hair. And it felt good
To be barefoot for awhile, remember
What my body felt like when no one
Was looking.

What is a home but a place to leave?
But the more I stayed, the more I fell in love
With solitude and quietness.
And I knew how Eve felt in Eden
With one man and herself and a snake.
And I knew why she might gaze out the window
And wonder what’s beyond that glass,
That wall, while at the same time,
Being content and filled and in love.

The wind blew. The palm trees swayed
And dropped their leaves
Like they do each spring, as people died.
And friends were tantalizingly close, always.
But I, like Narcissus, found myself—
My image in the mirror, and it was almost
Enough. And some days it was.

And some days, I was like a pigeon
Mourning its lost flock that took off
In a fluttering of wings and left me behind.
I wondered the forest of my psyche
Daily, getting lost, afraid of the big bad wolf
Of depression of anxiety, and how to keep
That at bay when it dresses like a sweet old woman
And invites me in for a spell?
Allies were filled with trash, empty boxes
Of the big screen T.Vs we bought to feel
Less alone inside the Eden of our homes.

And outside, spring bounded with joy.
And inside, you had to face yourself.
Always, palm trees swayed in the wind.
All spring long, it was hot as hell outside,
But each morning, damn it, the sun rose.