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Day Twenty-Two, Fourteen, and Forty-One

By Meg Muthupandiyan


Day Twenty-Two


What does it mean to walk in faith

when our bodies become hosts


when everything we touch

bears the trace of a virus’s power,

wonderful and fearfully made?


I dissolve my grief

on the tip of your tongue

before I fly

like a bright, shining arrow

through the empty aisles

of this new wilderness

thinking of the centuries

my people walked

through the stony fields

of their inheritance,


mustard seeds upon the earth.


I profess, I never truly believed

in the invisible, and the unseen—

the hand of God

working in and through me,

until this moment when

touching nothing but what I will take,

I am both humbled and exalted

in the waters

of skin and sweat and holy breath,

a rebaptized vector of life and death.



Day Fourteen


And the quarantine begins

as the earth softens

and the worms forget their slumber,

as the crows gregariously gather

and the terns wheel above the pond

as the oak leaves turn to tissue,

and the winds choral their last song,


And the blackbirds return

as Orion sails toward the west,

and the willow whips turn golden,

as the carpet of clover unfolds

and the creek runs to catch the sun,

as the dogwood blazes fiery red

and the quarantine, the quarantine begins.




Day Forty-One


At the market,

hundreds of unpurchased

Easter Lilies

herald the season

with rust brown trumpets

battered at the fringe,

while at the forest’s edge

a single crocus

has broken through the wormwood,

a silken purse

within the uncut leather

of fallen leaves.


I have hurried by both,

only later wondering

how many more

of these resurrections

are left for me;

and at last I’ve arrived

at a place of unknowing—

a wilderness of wasted abundance

and fragile singularity,

one that

I shall never leave alive.


Meg Muthupandiyan is a poet and educator within UWM’s College of General Studies.  She is the founder of the Poetry in the Parks public humanities project.