The Poetry of Mary K O'Melveny

SOCIAL DISTANCING

  

 

            “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. One fancies a heart like our own must be beating in every crystal and cell, and we feel like stopping to speak to the plants and animals as friendly fellow mountaineers.”

                                                                                     …John Muir

 

 

 

 

What will be required of us all?

Each beating heart asks this question.

Wants to feel still useful, still calm.

I recall my grandmother telling 

us she knew Spanish Flu victims. It seemed

so remote. So ancient. At least until

HIV/AIDS.  Then we began to learn

the high costs of community. Each day,

someone went missing. Telltale signs were

everywhere yet it took decades to make

a dent in fear. Later on, when birds 

and swine turned scary, we remained calm.

 

As daffodils poke from hillsides and cherry

blossoms fill the Potomac’s banks, we admire

their Monet glow from a safe distance.  

Face coverings cannot obscure worried

eyes. Each day, obituaries are the top news

story.  Dog walkers rein in their charges, 

wonder if their owners have traveled to

foreign places. Streets turn quiet as country

lanes. Plans for everything become scraps

of paper which become diaries of our former

selves. From a closed shop doorway, a

homeless man croons: All You Need Is Love… 

 

 

 

 

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