By Laura Grace Weldon
I think it’s Saturday, but it’s Tuesday.
Afternoon has dragged on long enough
to be evening now, though the clock insists
it’s not yet three. No Zen retreat, no generative
challenge, this isolation feels like being lost.
Familiar landmarks of paychecks and plans, gone.
Signposts expected ahead keep disappearing from view.
When people lose their way in wilderness
their bodies react as if trapped, their minds as if going
mad. Rescuers say the lost exhibit universal behaviors.
We seek boundaries – a forest edge or lake shore.
We seek signs of civilization – a building or road.
Children are more likely to be found alive
because they slow down, take refuge.
Adults tend to keep moving. Lone men go on
longest and least often survive. Sometimes the lost
walk trance-like right past search parties. But
no organized rescue team searches for us now.
Instead we look out for one another. Can you hear me?
I’m calling your name. I will keep calling
through this wilderness until we all get out.
Baking A Few Dozen Loaves To Leave On Porches
I’m trying to septuple the recipe, but my calculations
seem off as I teeter on unavoidable numbers.
Cases will peak in 3 to 5 days, peak again
in 2 months or 4 or more. I know how much testing
hasn’t been done, how many dead are expected
this week, next week, the year’s end. I can barely
translate small egg volume into jumbo egg volume times 7.
I want to count backward on some celestial abacus,
slide time’s beads click click click over
to an alternate path occurring now in a multiverse
where I don’t leave food on lonely porches,
instead multiply recipes for a jubilant occasion
in a house so crowded I can’t count everyone here.
No Family Sundays Since March 16, 2020
The day’s oars dip and lift, time sliding past
silver as droplets fancied up by sunlight.
A girl in dinosaur-patterned boots explores creek rivulets,
shakes cattail fluff into chill skies saying, “go grow!”
A boy prods the pond’s ice with a stick, tosses to see
it skitter over the surface, mourns it can’t be retrieved.
Inside a toddler carries blocks in her fist, leaves them
behind pillow, under chair, behind trunk.
Voices around the breakfast table, at the fireplace,
in the garage and basement. Dogs tussle, then sleep.
Breakfast dishes washed, table laden anew with lunch,
all of us so accustomed to Sundays together
we don’t imagine it might be our last in however.
What silver drops of now might we savor
more slowly? What old wooden block found
behind the trunk might we cradle in our hands?
I live in a rural part of the U.S. where Covid-19 continues to spread. Because of a medical condition, I’ve been in lockdown since mid-March. Early in the pandemic I dealt with my despair by dropping off home-baked goods on strangers’ porches and sewing masks to give away. I continue to find writing, or any creative work, difficult in this time of global suffering. Gardening helps, gratitude helps, and I hope voting will help too.