A poem for our times, by my friend M.C. Mars

Earl

November 16, 2020

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Plowing Through the Pandemic

The bus stops

at the cement island, a group

of masked people

get off. As I walk near,

I recognize the face

of a man who used to work in the

boutique

hotel flying the Tricolor in the

neighborhood where I live. In ten years,

we’d never

spoken a word to each other, but

now

our eyes meet, it’s clear

 he remembers me too. It’s clear

by his determined gait,

he’s plowing through the

pandemic.

2.

Doing floor exercises

on a beach towel on my carpet, I

pause

to gaze out the window

at the scrolls and caryatids

on the cornice of the building

across the street. A diamond shape

of light

illuminates the acrylic carpet,

turning

the dull grey to silver, loose

threads hold rainbows

in their invisible bellies. I go back

to my stretching, one technique

one posture at a time

for plowing through

the pandemic.

3.

They could be building

a gallows out there, driving

nails into pine boxes, appropriating

the sidewalk for

some fatal enterprise. But

that’s not it at all. Lights hang

on the latticed

walls of the outdoor booths. The

restaurant owner is

adapting to the framework

of a new world. No one

remembers the refrigeration

trucks loaded

with corpses, the lead

coffins welded shut

and buried on a ghostly

spit of land

off Manhattan. No, that’s not

how you plow through

a pandemic. You do it

like this: Raise a toast

and savor the wine.

M.C. Mars (c) 2020

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