Lens Poet

He traces with light,
Sets the scene right.

Aperture set,
Assignment met.

With one shutter click,
He cuts to the quick.

Frozen in time,
A moment so fine,

A girl and her pup
Didn’t have to look up.

No need to pose,
That’s how it goes

Lens poet so fine,
Memories of mine

Draw a tear.
Hold us near.

Image courtesy of John Gregory Evans

Planting in Pandemic Times

Planting a vegetable garden seems urgent this year.
I suppose it always has been.
But after weeks of walking lockstep with death, social distancing,
And pandemic statistics,
We think it wise to plant more than we did last year.

My favorite store’s garden display
Sits in the parking lot, where the early afternoon sun
Highlights the multitude of greens, pinks and blues
That pop up in rows of peat pots.

Lockstep indeed.
I forget how it feels to just be myself.
Until I see myself as one of many gardeners,
Roaming through the rows of potted herbs and vegetables.
Still maintaining a safe distance,
Face masks come off in the safety of outdoors.

I settle on basil and dill plants
And an assortment of vegetable seeds, for now.
In our backyard, amid half barrels and raised beds,
The trowel plunges into the soil.
It could be any spring, any year.
Our shih tzu watches with contagious joy,

Lockstep indeed.
My husband had read the news this morning:
The pandemic could last at least two years.

My thoughts return to the peat pots of basil.
Our dog has wandered to a sunnier spot.
I momentarily believe the smile in his eyes,
And put my faith in roots, shoots, soil microbes,
The giant walnut tree in the neighbors’ yard,
And the age-old hope of planting a vegetable garden.

Evening’s Poem

Evening’s hush permeates the house.
April’s premature thunderstorm has settled down.
I’m the last one awake; even the dog has worn himself out.
Scribbled notes, stacked on my husband’s desk, look forward to becoming free verse, villanelles or sonnets.

A solitary robin sings as if thinking out loud, reviewing the day, exhaling as her little ones sleep.

I sit in my recliner, iPad in lap, ready to write.
A Google search turns up poetry prompts.
I type random words until a poem clears its throat and taps me on the shoulder.
“This way,” it whispers.
I follow meandering paths of meter, line breaks and alliteration.
We delight in clever phrases and poignant memories, that poem and I.

Where did it come from?
If only I knew!

The solitary robin falls silent, asleep until dawn.
Our refrigerator crackles and pops its way through automatic defrost.
The last glimmer of sunlight slips between the living room shutters.

I put the poem to bed, wondering why anyone would want to read a poem
About a poet writing a poem.


Heavy steps through the clinic door.
Scores of faces, waiting room eyes
Follow my feet to the check-in desk.
Finally, a space for my face near the water cooler.

18 minutes of freedom, wishing our dog were here.
I dream, screaming silently till I hear my name.

Dead down the hall: sterile chairs, swabs, lidocaine,
Blood draw, raw nerves, tsk tsk near the back of my head.
Are you in pain? As if I were deaf.
No space for my face any more.

Meanwhile, it’s snowing.
Will this freeze cease?

Ease my arms through warm fleece sleeves.
Thoughts race, raw,
Pause as our reserved ride pulls up.
Better late than never.

I hear my name.
Going home? A smile for me.

Snowflakes breeze by blurred trees.
I bet our dog is deep asleep.

I look out the car window.
Somewhere between I-84 and our front yard,
My face becomes my own again.