1Pandemic: The Witness
Holding humanity to her heart
She passed her Passion for peace
To the shattered souls
Behind closed doors
As she walked the empty streets.

She felt those lingering,
just the other side
Of empty window frames,
Leaning lost and lonely
Against the walls of their quiet homes.

No cars, no trucks in the streets.
The way to nowhere
remained clear.
the world was silent.
Planes did not fill the sky,
Children did not play outside.

Each day, with the air
Still and fresh,
More birds gathered
and sang, reclaiming their place.
Each day more people
Quietly succumbed.

In a great rush
The virus spread
all around the world. 

Reporters in rooms
somewhere, unconnected,
Talked incessantly
through the window of tv,
Their isolation wearing them down.

People became pale.
They longed for touch,
For joy and Community,
the sight of an unmasked face.

She witnessed, walking and waiting
while It just went on and on.

. . .
11/2020/April 2021
With a flashy black “W”
At the end of each wing
The silver plane has slipped between the clouds
And landed squarely on my heart.
Day after day
For an endless parade of years.
Widow is an open word:
A window without the “N”,
A changing without an end.
Widow is two W’s
Holding up “I do”.
Support for a marriage disappeared.
Widow is a hurricane of a word,
Full of violent movement and turbulent air:
Dark snapping fabric;
A mysterious veiled face;
The whisking and twisting
Of Crows wings;
Torrential rains, screaming winds,
And Witches
With long black gowns pressed
Tight to their bodies
By whirling gales.
We lost women,
Under our flowing widow’s weeds,
Have grown brittle, yet so light
Our bodies and our lives
have all but disappeared.
August 16, 2006
3Poem for My Bones
As you thin;
As you grow nubs and distortions;
As you lose your protective caps,
I think of you holding me up.
I picture future-you
Dangling, all of a piece,
Your sweet white lengths
Clacking together in a breeze.
Wind whispers through your
osteoporosis vents
accompanied by
Little clicks from knobby joints,
Fancy snaps from bent fingers
and toes and back bones.
And, shining in the sunlight,
Your happy polished skull
swings at the top
Holding it all together still.
Your dance begins.
You are at last
light as air.
November 15, 2018
4Dear Al Gore
Dear Al Gore
How I miss your sanity
How I miss your level head.
Oh, Al, the leaders have lost it.
Our world grows more damaged
By the day, month, year.
No one wants to change
Even a tiny bit!
Let the poor swelter
And die in the heat
Or drown in the floods,
The hurricanes,
Or just the windy storms.
Let the ocean shores creep up,
Let soil erode, trees fall.
But in the end our souls will
Wash away, our management
Prove disastrous,
life on earth will end.
And so, Al Gore,
As we die, dry up or wash away,
May our consciousness open our eyes
And as we slip away
May we know,
each and every one of us,
That we killed ourselves.
July 1, 2022
5Ghosts At Dawn
Standing in the middle of Main Street
Dimly lit, at dawn,
I watch the steam
Rising from the vents
Above the plant.
Swirls and loops
Pick up the colors of the morning sky--
Golds, pinks, brilliant light.
This day
In the wispy clouds
I see ghosts.
Parading spirits:
Angular shadowed faces of
men in rows,
wearing hardhats,
tools strapped on with stiff leather belts,
shoulders squared.
The mist lifts and
drifts away empty
fading into the rich morning blue.
The sun has come up.
Momentarily ghosts walked here.
They stay with me
All day.
The sound of their feet marching
Echoes in the pounding operation
of the plant.
I hear their protests
At the screeching noon whistle.
I look up
Expecting their return
But they have moved on.
March 2013
6Find Me
Find me in the forest <
Amidst the tall, old-growth trees.
Hear my laughter when you trudge
Though leaves underfoot,
Through pinecones and needles.
Think of me dashing about
When you see a wee creature
Scurry up a trunk.
See the flash of a twinkle in my eye
When brilliance flickers
Between tossing treetops.
Feel me at the beach
As you sit warm in the sand;
My love encircles you.
Close your eyes and hear the tiny bells
Of laughter in the distance,
Waves crashing like thunder.
Feel the earth shudder,
Feel my heavy step.
See my eyes
When you find a cloudy sea glass
In green.
Hear my song when the air moves,
When breeze sways the wind chimes,
When a mistral whistles through branches.
Hear my noisy chatter
When water tumbles over rocks
Clacking and cracking as it goes.
See me in a scrap of something
That turns the corner
Just on the edge
Of your sight.
Find me.
Do not lose me.
I am with you always.
For Greg
February 2017
7Orange County Rain
Judy Gorham
When the rain came
The spirit of the thirsty earth
Rose up to meet it.
The sweet rich smell of moist dirt
Lifted and spread.
Steam escaped the hot ground
Like a sigh of relief.
When the rain came
The deep scent of leaves and grasses,
Mosses, roots, minerals, and plants
Caught in the wind
And swirled round and around.
When the rain came
It chased the dust into tiny rivers
That flowed along and away.
The smog drained out of the sky
And ran briskly down
The storm drains to the sea.
When the rain came
Everything smelled fresh and new
And the air was heavy and wet.
A wondrous rainbow
Opened in the sky,
And stillness settled in
And stayed,
When at last
The rain came.
July 22, 2004

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