The Poetry of Mary K O'Melveny





It seems like everyone I know

is  at risk. Though we don’t admit

it to ourselves. Such categories

apply to them, to others. We are

the lucky ones. Privilege beads

like light sweat on our folded arms.


Our kitchen counters shimmer from  

frequent alcohol-based cleanings.

My temperature rises but only

when I watch news broadcasts. So far,

the mercury remains lodged in

normal range. I have not coughed. 


We walk down empty hallways where

our neighbors once roamed easily.

The internet is our best friend.

Though it may soon crash while we watch

it burn.  So far, I’ve seen the Louvre,

listened to YoYo Ma play Bach.


I’ve meditated to ocean sounds,

watched a swallow murmuration

sweep like question marks past a

blue sky’s claim to normalcy and,

from our window, seen magenta skies

caress Cathedral spires at sunset.


In Austin, Texas, Willie Nelson

is hosting a virtual songfest.

I’ve tuned in. Perhaps he’ll sing of

Pancho and Lefty -- how survival

can be a kindness. Or maybe,

simply, Wake Me When It’s Over.



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