My Mom Dies During a Pandemic
A hospital bed replaces
the one she shared with my father
for over 70 years,
her brain long ravaged
the nurse says she’s transitioning.
I stand masked
in her bedroom doorway, immobile,
scared. I leave her dying
to the professionals.
It’s her birthday. I carry a card,
decorated with flowers and sparkles,
A lifelong New Englander, Laurie Rosen’s poetry has appeared in The Muddy River Poetry Review, Peregrine, Oddball Magazine, Zig Zag Lit Mag, Gyroscope Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Inquisitive Eater, a journal of The New School, Pure Haiku and elsewhere. She is a proud member of the Tin Box Poets in Swampscott, MA and was a reader at The Improbable Places Poetry Tour in Beverly, MA.
To My Sister on the Anniversary
of Her Death from Covid
It’s been two years, and there are
those who still ask me to believe
you’re in a better place. Or
that we all are now that all is
said and done. Now that life is
back to normal, or at least
back to a semblance of the life
we once knew. Remember
how you liked to say you were
our mother? How you’d take us all
on weekend outings to bowling
alleys and drive-ins. The larger than
life images of good and evil projected
on a big screen. How we’d watch
Kong battling Godzilla, wide-eyed,
sure of nothing more than our own story.
The way summer nights embraced us,
the way starshine followed us home.
Margaret Dornaus holds an MFA in the translation of poetry from the University of Arkansas. A semifinalist in Naugatuck River Review’s 13th annual Narrative Poetry Contest, she had the privilege of editing and publishing a pandemic-themed anthology—behind the mask: haiku in the time of Covid-19—through her small literary press Singing Moon in 2020. Her first book of poetry, Prayer for the Dead: Collected Haibun & Tanka Prose, won a 2017 Merit Book Award from the Haiku Society of America. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in I-70 Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Minyan Magazine, MockingHeart Review, ONE ART, Silver Birch Press, and The Ekphrastic Review.
in a pandemic year
two rabbits chase each other’s shadows
in moonlit snow under the black branches
of the yew I’ve lived with for fifty years.
In the Arboretum prairie, the Jackson Oak
I first saw in full leaf has decayed to a single trunk
and branch–hawk perch, owl stand, but all around
its offspring raise their young green arms.
Robin Chapman’s most recent book is The Only Home We Know (Tebot Bach), recipient of an Outstanding Achievement in Poetry Award from the Wisconsin Library Association and honors from the Council for Wisconsin Writing. Her poems have appeared recently in Poem-a-Day, The Hudson Review and Appalachia. She is recipient of the Helen Howe Poetry Award.
My Colleague Dies during Covid
The email says that they don’t have
any other contact information for her,
that there won’t be a funeral,
that there’s no address to send flowers.
“I wonder if anyone has a photo to help
us put a face with the name,” somebody
writes in the thread.
But what is a face in an age of masks?
What is a name?
A Poem Is a Grave
marked by words.
You have to dig deep
to find its bones.
You have to bury
yourself in it.
I heard that the famous novelist
wrote this on one of his notebooks
before he died.
I guess it’s only natural
to want to sanction the narrative of your life
after you’ve gone,
especially if you’re a writer.
When my father died,
he left no instructions
for a literary executor,
much less for a grieving son.
Clint Margrave is the author of the novel Lying Bastard (Run Amok Books, 2020), and the poetry collections, Salute the Wreckage, The Early Death of Men, and Visitor (Forthcoming) all from NYQ Books. His work has appeared in The Threepenny Review, Rattle, and The Moth, among others.