Bio Note: As Spain approaches its sixth wave of the Coronavirus, with cases once again on the rise, and scientists race to keep up with new strains, the pandemic seems to creep into much of my work, even two years on. This is a poem I wrote in the early days, when the world was still aligning itself on an axis of before and after. My debut full-length collection, The Places We Empty (Kelsay Books, 2021), was released in August of this year.
When the Virus Goes Away
They talk about tomorrow with the certainty of seasons, a faith so transparent my hands pass through it, as if traversing a curtain of water, when I reach toward their fallen masks. We come here every October when winds blow on late afternoon sunlight ladled into patches around the square, and the trees, near to buckling, have begun shedding days and months, leaves the crackle of bone, echo of breath. In my children´s wake, the regret I thought I had swallowed in fragments while lingering over precautions, little half-truths and too many maybe next years scarred all down my throat. Mommy, look! they say, breathless, and I slip on last year´s face, the one that urged them to bask in earth´s wild bounties, no second thoughts or worst-case scenarios. Fear still crouched in shadows, waiting. They used to do this with friends, think a chatter of squirrels clambering for the largest acorns, which they´d paint at school the next day. Today they are alone. In a few minutes, hand gel will blur all traces of play. On the way home, their pockets will sag for want of treasures left behind. How they shuffle colors out of all this gray, read the future in the tarot of the wind is beyond my comprehension. But what if they´re wrong? If what they see is a wisp of the past, ghost children with faces much like their own, come to taunt them with scenes from a life no longer theirs?
First published in Feral: A Journal of Art and Poetry
©2022 Julie Weiss
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