Saturday, 2 May 2020

Love in the Time of Corona
(Beneath the Gentle Trees)

by Katherine West

Some are too tired to go on
they sit down by the side of the road
using their bundles as cushions—
some sit alone
watching the dusty
scrub oaks
nod with the south wind
watching them as if all the answers
were contained
in their slow
their relationship
with what breaks them
or brings them the food
of rain
and runoff—
some sit together
watching each other
the same way the solitary
watch the trees
they observe the way the hair
of babies
and ancients
grows in the same
like milkweed pods
about to let go
the way old hands
their swollen fingers and thumbs
unable to grasp
any longer
are finally
at rest
still as lizards
in the sun
small batteries
being charged
filled up utterly
with what they might call God
the way eyes
at the curve
of the orb
the way the curve
of the river glints
in late afternoon
turns white
as the eye
after the all day blue
of the sky—
some keep going
not even turning their heads
as they leave their brothers and sisters
they are only feet
they see nothing but the road
as it disappears
into the horizon
while the ones left behind
curl up together
a family
of fallen leaves
beneath the gentle trees

* * * * *

Katherine West lives in Southwest New Mexico, near the Gila Wilderness, where she writes poetry about the soul-importance of wilderness and performs it with her musician husband, Yaakov. She has written three collections of poetry: The Bone TrainScimitar Dreams, and Riddle, as well as one novel, Lion Tamer. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as LalitambaBombay Gin, and New Verse News, which recently nominated her poem, And Then the Sky for a Pushcart Prize.

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