An Unholy Halo Dims in the Pandemic . . .

where the word corona has Frankensteined into the devil
when one day drains into the deadly next
The only fluidity in this stagnant world
being daily walks that stir the air

A wren running off a squirrel from her nest
Swishes barely heard from bicyclists
and walkers wearing masks
The breeze-cradle-sway of California poppies

Sound waves that ride the wind
from a tennis club’s parking lot a block ahead
And I’m transported to China via plucks, bows
pan flute and gong–pentatonic in their delivery

Upon arrival I find a Chinese woman
who looks as old as the ancient music
that floats from the black box by her feet
She flows like water from one Tai Chi step

into another as I drop my bag of wildflowers
And on the other side of the empty lot
I Spread the White Crane’s Wings, Become the Clouds
Strum the Lute, Tame the Tiger

And all the other steps that have laid dormant
for too long in the devil’s deadlock
At music’s end the old lady waves and looks
at me as though we knew each other in another life
She an angel whose wings don’t stop
with the White Crane’s

Time . . . and Time Again

Back home from the airport
after a cancelled flight
Fog whispering the secret
of the next 24 hours in my ears
Time sheds like fairy dust around
the telephone, computer and front door
Even the rabbits and cat
in the backyard expect nothing
until the neighbor comes tomorrow

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero
I remove my wristwatch
Cover the kitchen wall clock
Silence the Black Forest cuckoo
The incessant alarm that every
second, minute, hour brings closer
the moment our own tick stops

This day will not be stolen by cold facts
Not when the sun in its circle of life
warms with golden arms through the window
And when a candle breathes the energy
of orange blossom spring into the air

The banana tree in the atrium
that has come full bloom waits to be picked
The ready-to-be-recycled inner core
of the tree chopped into pieces for pulp
The slow dance of a papermaker
accompanied by Mozart
Who was so driven that maybe he never
had a block of metronome-free time

I hope he did have dark chocolate and the sin
of red wine while the sun was still young
The swoon of exhaustion and the sweet taste
of satisfaction that a perfected craft sparks
A hundred deckle-edged sheets and I’m on fire

At midnight I make amends with Time
over dinner of oatmeal and ice cream
Invite it into the bedroom
for a glass of limoncello, chapters of Zane Grey
And when light is swallowed into the belly of night
Its heart no longer beats death’s war drum
An ally now whose hands break
the 2:00 a. m. ice of aloneness

Whose voice sings a sleep mantra
assuring that my flame hasn’t flickered still
That the sun will be born again
Day will look through the window
That Time will wring the water
from the handmade papers in their passage

Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero: “Seize the day,
putting as little trust as possible in the future.”—Horace

Ellaraine Lockie’s recent poems have won the 2019 Poetry Super Highway Contest, the Nebraska Writers Guild’s Women of the Fur Trade Poetry Contest and New Millennium’s Monthly Musepaper Poetry Contest. Her new collection, TRIO, was just released from Poetrylandia. Earlier chapbook collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Ellaraine also teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.

You can find more of Ellaraine’s work here

Life in Quarantine: Witnessing Global Pandemic is an initiative sponsored by the Poetic Media Lab and the Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis at Stanford University.

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