Article Category Archives: Poetry

Grandparenting in Covid-19

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Precious days lost
Will I miss her first steps?
Daily photos and videos help
But I can’t touch her soft skin
Pat her round belly
Inhale her baby scent

FaceTime becomes “Story Time with Grandma”
She reaches out to touch my face
Opens and shuts the iPad for Peek-a-boo
And giggles as I feign surprise
I read her favourite books
Make animal noises,
Delight her with pop-ups

When she fusses I sing “Skinnamarink”
Her face relaxes, tears dry
I sign off and she searches the room
No fears, dear Josie
Grandma will be back.

(Original link with readers’ comments here.)

grasp-less

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the capsized cling to laptops
bottom lines sink

will you fast with me?
eat freedom

grasp-less embodiment
grief release my child

birthed spirit
walk decades undead

here I remain, expanded
midwife ush-plush-usher

in beyond normalcy
forced dimensional bridge

bear down, collected

dilation span
breath

yet here we be
awed ask of creation

Diago’s Dark Waters

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On our tour of the Rio Negro, while the boat
putters across its strong-tea waters
local guide, Diago adds colour commentary

in addition to the construction genius of a bridge
over 2 miles long with 246 supporting columns, he adds
that each month 24 people plummet to death from it

he describes first contact with Europeans,
how villagers leaped into currents to drown
terrified by the strange fevers of smallpox

at the Dessana village, after describing
the rich traditional tribal celebrations, he warns
don’t stand under Brazil nut trees

after today’s rain, a 5-pound fruit is likely
to fall 200 feet at 50 miles per hour
and kill you

he explains how villagers died fighting
gold thieves who first arrived by sail boat
then by twin-prop airplane

at the rubber museum he regales us with stories
of the rubber tappers dying of yellow fever
or malaria, eaten by jaguars

passing hissing factories, 45-year-old Diago
says the average person in Manaus dies at 55
cancer, diabetes, heart disease

no mention of Covid-19
until our cruise ship docks in Antigua
after an Italian ship is turned away

disembarking in San Juan three days later
borders are closing and I think of Diago
sharing this new way to die

his Rio Negro already black
with bones of the dead

(Original link with readers’ comments here.)

Three Haiku

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Today’s sum twenty
Eight thousand and two hundred
Forty-four ascents.

Sun sears fishbone sky
Cloudbursts pierce quicksilver hems
Earth inhales exhales.

White noise lie in state
Silent sky and interstate
Doves know no borders.

Bittersweet Lament

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Nightmares 3 nights in a row
Nowhere I can go
Will temptation overcome
Self-isolation
God is with me
But is it God’s timing
A personal 9/11
Has become public

It has been a winter of
Stocking up
Snowed ins
Falls
Study deadlines
A fender bender
Concern
About a loved one
Never ending
I hope

Flowers refused
And also chocolate
We wait
Apart together

A flurry of
Phone calls
E-mails texts
Prayers
Bring measured
Peace

Love hurts
Yes in this mess
Will beloved
Get COVID?
… yes