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All, Alone | Oh, Sheltering Bodies

by Kimberly M. Blaeser, PhD


All, Alone


Each of us newly untouchable—islanded

the       space               around us

six fears across.   Even elbow bumps passé.


Coronavirus night terrors:

3 a.m.  Awakened.

A strange feeling of something

coursing arms to toes

through my body.

Odd awareness of system,

Motion.  Fever worry the outcomes.


Breathe   breathe   chant calm  chant future.

Tell myself Spring:

Deck birds a concert.

Migration sky.

In sacred planet cycles

hibernation     becomes return.


Uncharted.  This somber.   Slide back

in time,  old B-movie fears    Boris Karloff

background music ♩♩ ♩♬♩شش 》》♬《شڲ♩!

a taunt to calm.

Somebody counting days by Zoom, somebody

forgetting, too many every-bodies dying.


And unstilled incessant Tweethead leads

(America, do you see your mistake now?)

Directive: Finally, wash your hands.

Mute the partisan. PR. Clown shows.


New plan:


   Revive civility.

                                                          Oh, Sheltering Bodies–


We sequestered who fear.


                                                           Our hearts bare like trees. Waiting.


Curve of lips now masked

while eyes keep tired watch.


                                                             Yet even now sap runs in maple—

                                                             spring and crocus a solace for solitude .


All about us an unfamiliar air:

surfaces suspect, the comfort of hands.


                                                           Each day, each blossom purple with ritual.

                                                          Wash in the chorus of spring peepers.


Even oblivion of sleep eludes

while still Pale Rider lopes nearer.


                                                        Let earth drown out each mantra of fear.

                                                        April crane calls startle us: Awake! Awake!


The grasp of this unnameable future.


                                                      Here balance in ancient songs of continuance.


Kimberly Blaeser, Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2015-16, is a Professor of English and Indigenous Studies at University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee and MFA faculty member for Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. Her most recent collection of poetry is Copper Yearning (Holy Cow! Press, 2019).