The Now-Life and the Next

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                                  after N. Scott Momaday

I am the striped wasp trapped in your dress

smooth leather reins slipping out of your hands

the lustre of golden birchbark even in the dark

a snag of soft wool caught on barbed wire

a fast splash of road salt on the ice-covered stream

the coral of the cardinal’s beak

scent of lemonskin from back-porch terracotta pots

the breath of the tree and the scream of the chainsaw

the turtle’s track across the muddy road

I am the coat left hanging in the hawthorn tree


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Took the last can of seltzer

Took the best painting

No one will ever know


Even in paradise

this safe distanced spot

edge of the everyblue ocean

we hunker down, grieve

apply bandages

are misunderstood, weep

squeeze the splinter out

So stressed that even

salt droplets brushed by wind

on my bare shoulder

make me wince

Walk past the trash

stare down the security camera

Mosquito, tick

poison ivy tendrils thrive

in the rocks, coronavirus

floats through the village

and even goddamned Ghislane Maxwell

hid out here awhile

in this very pine grove

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