Coronavirus XI

rules make us keep our distance.
We are all police.

Bobbing in the bay,
ducks feed at the breakwater.
Three schoolgirls sunbathe,

the soft warm hands of
the Spring sun fulfill the hour.
The gods feel nothing,

says Plotinus in
the books in their backpacks warm-
ing on cold granite.

Coronavirus X

In the silence of
the village I watch Little
Falls. The black water

bubbles and sparkles,
surprisingly voluble
in the quiet of

A veritable Eden
said Verrazano.

This new virus: Wild-
life is not your salvation
but itself and wild.

Coronavirus IX

The boat yard empty.
Just me out for a walk and
two enormous geese.

also a silent presence.
Like two weightlifters

in orange trainers,
they didn’t scare but waddled
off, flight possible

at any time. I
took some pictures, conscious I’d
delete them later.

Coronavirus VIII

is scary but boring too.
The days between shop-

ping days are relieved
by disturbing flashbacks of
the radiant smile

of the pale checkout
girl. Today they had almost
nothing on my list

but I got in her
line and she smiled back. It’s like
that song ‘we’ll survive.’

Coronavirus VII

Flakes corkscrewing down
from the Spring sky, surprising
the facts on the ground.

The silence caused by
coronavirus deepens
with our disbelief,

and it’s easier
as night falls to believe a
mix of good, evil,

and time’s idiocy
is what we will celebrate
when it’s all over.

Coronavirus VI

We are getting used
to the dying. We walk our
dogs as excuses.

is a pandemic, no thought
big enough for it.

Our dogs have to pee
anyway. And have interests
in the outside world.

They pull us this way
and that until it is time
for a news update.

NB this coronavirus lyric like the others uses the capacity of lyric form to shift and blend voices; the effect can be choral, which we too often limit by the term irony.

Coronavirus V

The neighborhood now
in coronavirus lock-
down sounds self-absorbed.

The irregular ping
of the disused basketball
hoop spaced by patient

grunts and rare yeses.
To agree with life’s new rules
makes grace possible.

All around the court
old people listen to these
sounds and feel better.

NB caveat lector. This is not a vision but a slice of life. The persona or voice of the poem may strike you as ‘self-absorbed.’ There’s plenty of context to deal with. Some things are missing, like the rhythmic smack of the dribbled ball. That absence foregrounds the other sounds and a feeling of disembodiment becomes part of the poem as it opens on the final content.