Head Cold in the Time of Covid


How soft my breath —
for now. And doesn't life always

crouch in that wiry dyad of words
where every rush of oxygen bears

a prayer for the next?
This taut April dawn mist

holds the firs — nothing left
but sky in its silent arias.

In my chest something
quietly tightens its grip.

Am I vivid enough, now,
to face it? No more ignoring

the ways dissolution looms,
the seismic strata of grief.

Each morning, the numbers
in their abstract precision.

Bodies deftly filed away.
The visceral at bay

as though beaches
were not re-peopled —

as though hate were not doing
its slow calculus of subversion.

Can no one hear
the staccato subtexts of the heart,

the hushed and brittle dismay?
I keep revisiting the film


which tore me open last night,
abyssal hymn of salvation as the terse


bleeding mama took leave of her girl:
Don't die until you're dead.


I begin to seize the shape of it
as though I were poised


above still, dark waters,

freed at last into grief, aching


for the ghostly cantos of love.