Bio Note: I am hunkering down in Long Beach, California, wondering what is in store for us all. The pandemic and climate of fear reminds me of times during childhood when I was terrified of things beyond my control. “Fear” is from my second poetry collection, Deep Red, published in 1995.
Fear was a blue-black funnel crossing the pasture. The warning siren cut my sleep the way pain divides the body. Mom wrapped me in bedding, Dad drove us across town, Mom saying hurry, hurry, to Grandmother’s cellar, where I imagined I could smell the frogs that jumped from the corners as we descended the stairs. What if a tree fell on the door and we were trapped like this, in flashlight, in standing water, living on the pickled beets and canned green beans that lined the shelves, until this food was gone and we were forced to eat the frogs? And what if everyone we knew were killed outright, or picked up and set down in another state? With no one to pull the tree from the door we would shrivel into nothing. When the all-clear sounded, we climbed the stairs to find our world miraculously in place. Later, at school in California, the awful siren wailing, I was sure it was the bomb this time, not just another drill. I crouched under my desk, head down, arms locked around my knees. No pickled beets or jumping frogs to buy some time to live on.(Originally appeared in Deep Red)
©2020 Donna Hilbert
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