By Rachel Morgan
Mercy is headed to Los Angeles
and Comfort, New York—I don’t often
speak of angels—ships one of the few
words in English that has a gender—
she-angels sailing to the sick.
The world is learning it breathes
together, that being human happens
to us, and the work is to learn
to let it. This is hard, my daughter
complains of her spelling list.
I’m lost to explain what a ballast is.
We make sentences for radical, pilgrimage,
evolution. Every sentence has the virus in it,
even the sentence with tabernacle:
The tabernacles are closed due to COVID 19.
She feigns boredom with my teaching.
1,000 puzzle pieces litter our table.
In a few days, she’ll go to her dad’s
for the weekend. This is all new,
her two-house world, a world
so contagious we cannot be in it.
Alone, for the first time in twenty years
I tap the last puzzle pieces into place,
an idyllic, unrealistic nature scene—
too much yellow, no stream that
blue—I like the smooth feel interrupted
by seams. I am, we are, alone together.
Rachel Morgan is the author of the chapbook, Honey & Blood, Blood & Honey (Final Thursday Press, 2017), and her work recently appears in the anthology Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America (Ice Cube Press, 2016) and in Crazyhorse, Prairie Schooner, Salt Hill, Boulevard, Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, and elsewhere. Currently she teaches at the University of Northern Iowa and is the Poetry Editor for the North American Review.