A week of poetry begins today at Sunlight.

by J.D. Isip

When It Is Spring Minus

what I was doing yesterday, a job, a routine, a reason
to wake up and make coffee, drive—anywhere—listen
blithely to news that never mattered, catching my breath
not at the new bluebonnets, the pink paintbrushes, life
lining up, giggling, hushing, ready to burst into song—

but the numbers of newly dead, an Italian doctor’s fogged
glasses, “This is too much… too much,” furious nurses,
interview after interview of haunted mothers, children
whose voice only now seems shockingly, sinfully unfamiliar
as this empty highway we have crossed for a decade or more

suddenly every mundane corner is missing some needful thing,
shopping like hunters and gatherers, terrified of losing what
we thoughtlessly gathered into our carts on late afternoon trips
just weeks ago—was it just weeks ago?—we would huff across
the parking lot, wrap naked fingers across today’s bioweapon

any surface anyone else had been pulses with lifeforms
animated on the nightly news (it’s 2020 and we are watching
the nightly news as if that is what we ever did), anyone
we have not heard from is calling and we are answering,
they, too, have lost so much, start to cry, are embarrassed

that it has been this long, all of the bridal showers, grandkids,
graduations—“Dear, dear… none of them will this year!”—
obscenely long and intimate details shared with a stranger
you once knew, might need to know again, laughing,
“Why on earth did we ever lose touch?”


Photo by Ivan Evans on Unsplash