by Kimberly M. Blaeser, PhD
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.
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.
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).