Poetry

Published on September 21st, 2020 | by Leonore Wilson

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Pandemic Poetry: Leonore Wilson on ‘Palm Sunday’

No railing of the old pier to hold,
no church with its elaborate white arch to enter,

the shops are closed, we’ve turned the radio off and on,
the virus like beaten leather or the shaking

of an empty caboose so we press the cold glass window
against our cheeks as we drive and drive

as if to find a few kids at the park, swinging
on the monkey bars, or men standing in loose

knots eating persimmons, but like a swarm of bottle
flies on a horse’s pupil, we shake our heads,

it is that annoying this sudden isolation; why turn the key,
why bring the engine up, we can’t even have a picnic

under the city’s shadowy nest of red madrones
and hear the valley quail, blessed

echo in the canyons; no we cannot kick the shallow
river into place, or fish for ordinary

trout, the sites have been yellow taped, burning
with a dangerous beauty, every cell of our body

is not used to this, grief like a dog that can bark
for days; brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers,

disconnected from life, under sterile sheets,
losing purpose, breath by breath like when rats

begin to drum, the awful pestilence then the strictest
profiles of the dead under the ventilators we believed

were shamans, priests assuaging our sins, our fears;
oh that slick predator that drinks up the lungs,

that makes us weep for mercy, So will we drive this road again
which one of us like a beat up scarecrow, mask faced,

not speaking a word, forehead hot as the Mother Pacific
in July, salt crusted, pricking the deep magnets of nostalgia.

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About the Author

Leonore Wilson

Leonore Wilson is a former professor of English and creative writing from Northern California. Her work has been featured in such magazines as Quarterly West, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, Iowa Review, etc.



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