Poetry

[poem] Reclaiming.

Photo by Sebastian Palomino.

Long before quarantine
we had stopped all contact; now
the social distance means
I have returned to myself:

reclaimed my inner world
the way nature takes back
what man abandons.

I was left barren;
now, there are signs–
something that looks like growth.

Once,
when things were new
and good,
and you still saw the parts of me
you wanted to see,

you called me, “Wild magic.”

Now, you are gone.

Now, I find,
I am wilder than I ever was.

[poem] Today, I bought bread (after Rilke, by way of Sharon Creech)

Today, I bought bread.

Today, I bought bread
and too much coffee.

I wore my new pants,
and too much makeup,
and a coat the color
of unripe sunflowers.

Today, I said too much,
and hid too little,
and asked for time that wasn’t mine,
and spent it all crying–

because I didn’t spend enough time crying
all the days
before today.

Today was five rough days
crammed into one day,
that was itself just one day
in a series of rough days–

but hey.

At least we have words,
and Animal Crossing, and

today I bought bread,
and there are always dogs
and cats
and the world

has never been the same,
and will never ever be the same,

so we let it all happen:
the beauty and terror.

So we keep going;
no feeling is final.

Nothing is final.
Not rough days,
or bread,
or fear,
or the way things

change.

[poem] Scarlett

You are headstrong,
with something like an Irish temper. You
want green eyes and a head of waving curls.

You wear evening dress
in the afternoon, become very good
at not asking for attention.

Instead, you demand it. You are
something like charming: loud and clever
and some might call you terrifying.

Your temper
makes friends of no one.

Your temper
gets the job done.

You build your own plantation.
Your hands are rough from working.
Your back aches through the corsets
you still insist on wearing.

You are determined.
You are beautiful.
You are determined to be beautiful.

The green curtains come down.
They match the eyes you wish you had.
After this is over, you tell yourself:
I will have a new gown.
I will have dresses and skirts
to fit my still-cinched waist.

I will have a better life,
whatever that means.

For now, there is nothing to do
but wait:
for the crops to come in,
for this season to end,
for the world to turn
and the change to favor the renegade
you know you are.

You will never be a lady
like your lady mother.

Instead, you will seize life
with your roughened hands, demand
it give you better. You will laugh
at the past, cry fiddle-dee-dee
at the future.

You will learn to stop regretting
you could never be Melanie.

Repeat:
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day.
Tomorrow is another day.

Tomorrow–