Bio Note: Although I’m a homebody and a hermit, this time of isolation seems endless, like a long convalescence. I’ve used this great pause to write more and to read books again, as well as submit more of my work. My poetry has appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, and The Nation. I live in rural central Virginia in the woods, alone, still baking bread.
Season of No
Spring arrives, then summer during the season of no. No proms or graduation parties, no Mother’s Day or Father’s Day dinners. No browsing new books or sales racks, no art or art supplies, or seeing what produce is fresh, in season. No popping in or coffee dates to catch up on news. Weddings postponed, couples live together in quarantine, voice irritations and endearments. Season of baking bread and cookies, season of no limit to how much you can sleep. Limits on how much butter, meat, and toilet paper you can buy. Insomnia and no limit to what you can worry about. No justice for people of color, for the poor murdered by police, recorded on three cameras. No bottom for a so- called president’s rhetoric inciting hate crimes. No shortage of tear gas. No halt to the worldwide spread of a novel virus whose only job is to replicate. Not enough testing. No proper funerals or memorial services. No saying goodbye or holding hands. No travel or summer camp. No treatment, no vaccine. Prevention measures ignored and mocked by those who want haircuts, manicures, massages. Maybe the planet is telling us, No. Humans are no longer welcome here.
Originally published in Life in the Time. June 9, 2020
Perhaps the climb up Old Rag, not far from me, or past the gate to Mr. Nuckols’s property to see this year’s calves before the males are hauled off to slaughter. I could walk the Camino de Santiago at my own pace, nodding to others on the way or climb Kilimanjaro. How about a ticket to Mars, one-way? I’d like to see Down House, take a loop on his Sandwalk, most doable with my bad leg. The Galapagos calls, though travel is too arduous, exhausts me from where I sit in my window seat. An interior pilgrimage might suffice, a trek to remote corners where memories are still preserved: scent of chlorine in my Florida pool, its cool blue morning, cooing mourning doves perched on wires. I can back up to my childhood bedroom with my sister so near I can pat her arm. My parents’ voices beyond the thin wall. A pilgrimage to Brooklyn, my friends across the street, I walk again to Shellbank Junior High School with Maureen, Linda, and Mally. We wait for Gavrielle, innocent of what’s ahead.
Originally published in Halfway Down the Stairs, September 1, 2020
©2021 Joan Mazza
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