Poem for Isolation

to: prisoners, refugees, immigrants, aged infirm, quarantined, us.

What I need to write now

is a different sort

of poem, one that

dings like a text or better

rings like a phone

call and when you

answer it is

your best friend, brother,

child, something, someone like

that, and everything is perfectly

fine, they say, the night’s heavy

snow is melting under spring sun,

something like that happens, and

let it be a poem that

doesn’t surprise you

at the end of it

with some scary real

news or moment of existential

panic like we get

every day. No,

I will write a poem

that could be everybody’s friend, could be

a hug, a kiss, could be

the delivery of oranges,

or the neighbor’s plum trees

flowering with certainty

there will be no late frost

no kiss of death

so when I share

this poem, I will edit out

the kiss of death,

will cut it short, and the flowers

will ease into fruit in this poem

over several warm months,

and when the poem of your phone rings

it will actually be your doorbell

(you have a door and a bell in this poem)

and there will be your neighbor,

your best friend, your children,

something like that, someone,

this poem, a hug during

the time of waiting,

not a poem of longing. Why

must I always follow

the poem to there,

a sorry visit to my heart,

a shocking fact in my mind,

some science that insists

on being spoken,

that it may be a very long

time before you have a door,

or a bell or a door bell rings,

if ever, but still,

when you open the door,

let the poem of us

be surprised and wait,

cherishing the light in our faces,

then let us reach out

and touch each other’s hands

then step as close

and hold each other as close

as a clam to its shell

mud to a shoe

a cat on your lap

fish in water, carpet to floor, bird to sky, egg to nest, worm to dirt, tree to root, type to page, planet to gravity.

Then let the poem be with you

like you and it are two peas

in a pod, that is

as close as the you-to-me

you always are

wherever you are.

Let my poem touch

you till you laugh.

p.s. Peas come 6 or 8 to a pod.

The poem will have a party!

Edward Hopper, Sunday Morning, 1930