March 20, 2020
Friend, this morning’s walk: a search for wildness.
Last year’s nest of hornets
lists precarious from a neighbor’s Bradford Pear.
Scrub brush greens on a narrow ridge of clay
the bulldozer unearthed.
I stop and think about that word,
Is that not the art we’ve tried to master?
Last night, tornado sirens;
today sidewalks slicked with mud
that slipped the walls between hillside and street.
The life I lived just days ago—
the clink of other people’s cutlery—
seems as strange to me now
as pictures of the wildlife market,
the stacked cages,
claw and beak and blood-matted fur.
June 2, 2020
Friend, you still walk your stretch of creek,
though what was flood in spring
is a languid, muddy trickle
in this early summer drought.
And I still trudge gray city sidewalks
looking for the words.
You heave flat rocks
up to the bank of Fowlers Fork;
the drystone wall
you’ll build to save its wildness
shapely in your mind.
I envy you your steadfast labor,
though I admit a thrill to see a wrecking ball’s
square hit against the cornerstone
of what has long been crumbling on our streets.
A flood is rising from the wounds
we’ve tried for centuries to ignore.
Curfews and walls of uniforms
will not contain it. Oh, friend,
it is so easy to say
that violence is not the answer,
so much harder to heave all the questions
up from beneath the smooth green lawns
on which our houses sit.
June 17, 2020
Do you remember
when the only thing asked of us
was to keep our breath at home?
Even that was more than we could .
Even then we were divided—
those who thought we saved the world
by keeping it outside our doors;
those who stocked the shelves,
loaded the delivery vans
that kept the rest of us alive,
then hauled away our stinking excess
as we slept. Friend, no matter
how little we thought we had,
it was always too much.