by Molly Engel


by Lisa Lopez Smith 

You can watch the news on TV
but I’d rather sit with the cows,
the flick of their ears,
tails swatting, ruminating
gobs of grass; they’re indifferent to global flooding and draughts,
inequalities, and even pandemics;
listen, the trees announce the ferocity of wind,
birds whistling and cooing nearby, and I’d rather
sing as the sun lowers past stone fences and nopal cactus flowers—
light shining slight through each petal, each spine ferocious, I’d rather
puncture spacetime, buy fresh dates for Ramadan, embroider a tablecloth
with scents of past feasts, paint clouds or read a story, meet the Honduran mom
on the roadside, cook up some cosmic soup for the children, go mountain-biking.
Sheep wool is spooled on the thorns where they had passed by, grazing,
I’d rather knit a scarf, lift breath and body,
lift heartbeat, drumbeat to where the condor circles, sky and earth,
meeting here where smoke is rising, harvesting in wild, holy places,
and baking bread leavened
with the yeast of our kindnesses, salty tears and kisses,
I’d rather
sit, still,
reimagining everything,
listening, even as the horses snuffle my hair
hoping for the guavas in my pocket.
What more was Quarantine for
but to be turned up like a dial
to teach us how we are
hearing the turtles popping their heads above pond water
bubble by bubble, the egret is still; and, I’d rather


About the photographer: Molly Engel is a Philadelphia native now in Portland, Oregon where she works part-time as a nurse while also pursuing a degree in mental health counseling. In her free time, Molly likes to bake things she can drink coffee with, spend time with her cat Dahlia, ride her bike, and climb with friends at a local bouldering gym. She has been taking pictures since she was thirteen, and after an introductory photography class in college she fell in love with the 35mm format. Find her work (all shot on a Pentax K1000) on Instagram @Mollyonfilm.