One Gift of Our Sequestering: a poem

They came home
fledglings flushed
back to the nest
and, of course,
we welcomed them.

Their rooms still theirs
nothing changed.
We’d washed the sheets
that’s all.

A throwback
that had us thinking
about times we’ve shared
that won’t come back.

Chris said, “You were at work,
and it was just Nick and me.
I’d get tired and lie down on the sofa.
I’d lift him up and down,
whee! until my arms got tired
then he’d rest his head on my chest and we’d nap.

I said, “What I wouldn’t give for one more
game of Grabber-Man.”

So when the colleges turned them out
it felt like, alright, not quite the same
but take it as a gift.  And strangely,
it has been.  A rewind/replay
all of us together at dinner every evening.

That had me thinking of other last things. 
Like:  I can point out the Cary Street corner
where it happened.  I took Stephen’s hand
to cross the street and he sort of swatted it away.
Told myself, I guess that’s it for that.

But I didn’t mark the last time we chased hot air balloons
or that Nick woke up early just to hang with Dad
or the boys took off their capes, put down their swords
and plastic shields and never picked them up again.

(Hand-me-downs for the neighbor children,
still giddy and chubby and fresh.
I want to school their Dad on that, but he, up to his elbows
in his four little kids, he’d look at me askance.) 

(Well, that’s probably half the dream of grandparenting
creaky old knees and old man bad breath
tumbled on the floor to wrestle with the new kid
one more round of Grabber-Man indeed
almost not quite but hey.)

So yesterday when I outrigged a kayak and its paddle,
a surfboard and a bike to his little car
and Nick headed off for the Summer of Covid-19
lifeguarding in the Outer Banks
this wash of feelings, memories, trepidations,
breaking with a shush on the sands of our parenthood.

Buddy sleeps in our room every night
but last night he didn’t come up.
He lay by the front door maybe wondering
when Nick would come back in.  He gets it.
Though like us he only dimly understands.

April Witchery: a poem

Oh man, another poem? Hey, it’s the last week of National Poetry Month, so sue me, right? Anyway, brand new (picture, too), from a walk last week in the woods near our house – and in this month of sequestering, believe me I know what a gift it is to have a woods to walk! Also, are these in fact wild roses?

April By the Numbers: A Rant


N-95 if you care to survive.
The cruelest month, indeed.
For Covid-19.
Contagious 3 days before you’re sick
and maybe 2 weeks after that.
The model said 1-2 million dead.
Then 100k then 60?
No 60k by May Day.
MayDay?  MayDay for true.
N-95?
We all need somebody to lean on.
Coronavirus the 19th.
100 body bags to a reefer truck.
Zoom meeting at 9 am.
14 days in quarantine.
The Dow down by 1/3.
30 million out of work.
Presser at 5 o’clock.
N-95?  (He put it on upside down.)
3 trillion spent and still where is the check?
Quadruple the numbers from China.
Must fall 2 weeks in a row if you want to flatten the curve.
To get the R number down to 1 or less.
Canned beans limit of 2.
1 teaspoon of bleach in 12 ounces of water is what the man prescribed.
N-95, anybody got a N-95?
Mostly they made love from 6 feet away.
18 months to vaccine.
6 to the election.
That lady was Patient 0.
Uganda has 1 ventilator.
5-fold increase in cyber-attacks.
Fuck the N-95, wear this bandana like a cowboy thief.
3 million so far.
In Europe 1/2 the dead lived in care homes.
But the little boy was just 3.
They’re called numbers because they’re numbing.

Well how about this:
Already in April more people have fallen
than all the cherry petals on our lawn.

Spring of 2020: a poem

The neighbor’s
cherry tree
a mushroom cloud
of pink,

how lovely this April
in the suburbs.

Awaken queasy at 3
all our homes afloat
on a sea of greening lawn
over which we shout
Ahoy!

Furtive, we mask
for dinghy excursions
to the islands.
Fret over allergy sneezes,
dwindling savings.
Wonder if that friend who died
in winter? 

The kids are all home.
It could almost be a holiday.

Bluebirds dart about
hunting likely niches
for their broods.