A Couple Of Things They Don’t Tell You

Here are a couple of things they don’t tell you about sheltering in place. They don’t tell you how one day will blend into another, how you will have to look at your phone or computer calendar to know exactly what day of the week it is. You might rise earlier to catch the sun coming up or sleep later and wake with a dream chasing you into your day. They don’t tell you when you shelter in place how much you will miss your grown children – the ones you only saw once a week anyway but with the virus senses are heightened and each moment has an urgency to it. It feels like all the love you have must be funneled into this moment in case it passes and the opportunity isn’t here again.

When you shelter in place they don’t tell you how filled with emotion you will be when an ad hoc parade rolls down your street. How hearing horns honking will lift your head from the trowel in your flowerbed. How you will move to the front yard in time to see banners with the names of teachers, proclaiming how much they are loved and missed. Your hand will automatically go up to wave and tears will automatically fall for people you don’t know and for a mascot you don’t recognize but the outpouring of heartfelt sentiment is real and palpable. You see your neighbors, who have also come out onto the street, put their arms around each others shoulders. As the parade disappears everyone lingers, looks in the direction the parade has just gone, holding on to the love just a little longer. With a little wave, or half smile, people slowly walk back to what they were doing. They don’t tell you that when you are sheltering in place you will feel alone even among your neighbors.

Or how spending twenty-four/seven with your husband, the man you love, can feel like a little too much time together. How you have no doubt you want to be together but even in this time of sheltering and craving time with others, you still need time to be alone, to be still with your thoughts, to just breathe.

They don’t tell you how the joy and beauty of seeing your friends on Zoom can quickly swing to heartbreak when you realize how long it has been since you’ve hugged any of them. No one tells you how difficult it is to perform for your friends, cello notes ringing loud and clear… you see their faces but can’t make eye contact, and you see their hands are clapping but you can’t hear the applause. No one tells you when you shelter in place how much you will miss the subtleties of human contact, the shift in posture you read in a conversation, the slight inflections in one’s speech, the things lost with the delay of video links. No one tells you that playing bridge, a game you love, will become just a game. What you really loved was the analysis of the play of the hand afterward, the laughter, the teasing, the small talk. Typing in a chat box doesn’t compare. Nothing can replace the feeling of security and realness of gathering in the same room – even if all you do is smile and let the energy of their being wash over you. I can’t wait to be drenched.

Falling Tears

Tears are falling all around me,
diamond sorrow beads
silently spilling over flushed red cheeks.

A room full of emotion
becomes a sauna as numb people gather.
Perspiration dots foreheads,
dark circles stain arm pits.

Words of comfort are spoken
while words of sorrow are swallowed
along with stagnant, suffocating air.

A youth walking
in the shadow of addiction
stepped across onto the wrong side
of the line.
In an instant his soul sped away.
Life evaporated.

Anger rises above grief.
Anger at the monster
that has come into our homes.
Anger at the beast
that has enslaved our loved ones.
Anger at the powerlessness
we have in the face of this horror.

Hot tears stream.
Heaving tears overflow.
Shocked tears splatter.

Tears are falling all around me
diamond sorrow beads
silently spilling over flushed red cheeks.

Bull’s Eye

information darts and bullets
whizz by unsuspecting bystanders
from every direction
some barely noticed
others strike an emotion
grab attention

emotional triage swiftly responds
prioritizing these cultural missiles

headlines
manipulate reality

shrapnel

when did we become the dart board
with a bull’s eye on our backs

Moon Rattle

sea shell

(internet photo)

moon rattle in my palm
acoustic spirit world connector
blend of natural elements and mystical belief

smooth white mollusk
encircled by brown striations
symphonic blend
crustacean style Sydney opera house

perfect to capture the roar and applause of the sea
to echo and amplify beach pebbles that
tumble and jump over each other within

browns and white whorl to a creamy point
milky way thoughts of origin
time and distance transcended
soulful continuity

the rattle contains energy
mystery
a reminder of celestial guidance
sun and moon drawing forth emotion
a vision of waves washing over
gently
swaying
caressing to and fro
crashing
pulling
spewing foam in a stormy moment
mimicking the ebb and flow of life

taut deer hide
sandpaper rough
tanned creamy white
encloses the operatic opening
captures vibrations
magnifies their song

an intuitive stroke paints the leather
a coppery swirl of motion
rises
bends
folds itself around
a yin yang symbol
twin fish
balanced
spooning each other
their bright red eyes
seeing beyond the palm of my hand

see my soul
see the universe
ready to carry my artful prayers
rattle vibrations
heavenward