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(April 2020)

Quiet days, quiet nights

a quiet so profound

it might be read as peace

but for hushed talk in the rooms

of shut houses and the few

masked figures seen from a distance

gliding down emptied streets.

It’s Spring: bird calls flute

through new poplar and oak leaves

as they did through the pungent

pine forests of Poland

when families were marched to the death pits

as they did through black stumps

of shell-smashed terrain by the Somme

(all the haunted refrains

of our shared lethal story)

as they flute now through lanes

blocked by long white refrigerated

mortuary trucks.

Our jonquils have risen;

they flaunt their bright flares

to a soft morning breeze

in masses of white and yellow.

Shrubs grow limber with yearning;

grass crabs new holds on paved lots.

The season recycles, implacably

joyous: only its watchers have changed.

Like beak-masked physicians

we draw our cloaks closer,

search dully for tokens –

the cough, the chill, the case rate

still rising – that body

the face of disease. Mocking


crowned microbes

restructure all lives.

Our tulips burst, purple and crimson.

A terrible silence arrives.

Version first published in The Raven's Perch (Oct, 31, 2020)

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