Thomas J. Erickson
Bio Note: I am an attorney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where I'm a member of the Hartford Avenue Poets. My book, Cutting the Dusk in Half, is forthcoming from Bent Paddle Press.
Covid gives me time to clean out the basement and go through my sons’ boxes. By December, the death toll in the US will be over over 300,000. Boxes of magic markers Johnny used to draw his anime persona who languidly proclaimed, “I’m a superhero with no powers and no motivation.” We need a vaccine for everybody: 7.8 billion human beings. A suitcase unopened since Charles got back from France. It’s completely empty. The death toll here is the most in the world, more than the next three countries combined. A teddy bear I haven’t seen in twenty years. I’d pitch it but my wife wants to keep it so she washes him on gentle and then spends most of Saturday night blow drying him and fluffing out his pilly fur. 97,000 children have gotten the virus in the last two weeks of July. There’s even a broadside from one of my poetry readings: The Quiddity of a Thing In this room, we pretended this bed was a boat. We were in the middle of a storm and I rocked the mattress almost tossing you off or I was a bridge and you would crawl over me above the dangers of Snake River. In this room, there is a large bin of Legos and building blocks. We constructed our manors and castles before tumbling them down. In this room, the glow-in-the-dark stars are falling from the ceiling and there is a bed where we lay on our backs and gazed at the universe above our heads. Poetry doesn’t comfort, it unsettles. While outside, the bats are cutting the dusk in half—to the past and the future— the beat of their wings disappearing in the August sky.
Let us not look forward nor back. Be cradled, as in a swaying boat on the sea. Friedrich Holderlin A moment can feel the same as an hour or a day or a year. People who are lost in the forest end up walking in circles. St. Augustine said time comes from a non-existent future into a present that has no duration and goes into a past which has ceased to exist. Tonight, we are the last two people on Earth. The past is gone now, the future is gone. Tomorrow, I will wake up and you will be gone but still here.
©2022 Thomas J. Erickson
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to say what it is about the poem you like. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL