Bio Note: Hunkered down in our woodland home near Athens, Georgia, I live and write with my husband and a herd of hungry deer. My poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Atlanta Review, The Southern Poetry Review, and many other journals and anthologies. My recent collection of poetry, Silk, won the Evening Street Review’s Helen Kay chapbook prize and the Georgia Author of the Year award for chapbooks. Writing poetry (and reading it, too) is essential to my emotional/mental survival.
Into growing middens, the red squirrel piles spruce cones and dries mushrooms to store. The chickadee scatter-caches seeds in dozens of places. The mole rounds up earth worms to corral in his larder, and the beaver stashes beneath water branches of willow and poplar to eat once the pond freezes over. And I, while the sunlight flickers leaf-shadowed mornings, while gardenias perfume the air at dusk, while berries fatten, figs swell, and all is greening and growing in abundance oblivious to human despair, I’ll take these rich hours, plump moments, delicious days of warm Gaia goodness, gather them now as best I can and hold them, [mind’s pantry, heart’s keep] for the Covid winter to come.
What We’ll Tell Our Grandchildren
We’ll say it wasn’t so bad, the Great Pandemic, that the skies had never been bluer, that spring danced in all buds and green glory unparalleled in memory, that we grew vegetables in pots. We’ll tell how we drank summer wine late into the night with no worry of alarms at dawn, beheld our pets and each other as though we were newly acquainted, freshly arrived from the scurrying world made of madness. We’ll say that we turned off the news to hear new warblers in the morning, to watch for fireflies at nightfall, to notice the coloring of leaves as fall’s glow was declared the brightest ever. Books, card games, jig-saw puzzles, new adventures in baking bread and homemade pasta—these we’ll list as resurrected pleasures. And friends perched ten feet away on our porch laughed even merrier, consolation for the lack of hugs. We may want to stop there, seeing the sweetness of their imaginings, the soft stare into another time. We may reason they’ll find out later as we did about our fathers’ wars— the casualties, the grief, the mortal struggle, the cold stone in the belly at dawn.
©2020 Clela Reed
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