My front door opens to the east.
My back door opens to the north.
Patio doors open south. Only
windows look west. This morning’s
sun rises bright in the eastern sky,
but dark clouds come from the west
to eat it up. Another train moans
a low whistle along its southern
track, saying, “Somebody’s going
somewhere.” But it isn’t me. I wait.
Sitting in the blue arms of morning,
waiting for words to come, a world
to call. Thirty-two tomato seedlings
yearn toward the grow-light. Leaves
of the basil, bought at the grocery
store and planted last winter, droop
like overwrought umbrellas, in the
window beside a leftover potted
Christmas tree, its small needles
littered still with artificial snow, a
fading poinsettia on the floor, last
two cactus blooms kiss and die.
Philodendron, mother-in-law’s
tongue, severed pussy willows,
a bunch of dried sage dangling.
The kitchen is a terrarium keeping
all kinds of living things alive,
waiting. I comb my fingers through
dirt lifting pale root tendrils, like
loose thread from an angel’s robes,
transplant into rich loam, knowing
no crown-of-thorn wearing virus
lurks there.
Far south of here in an
equally clean world still tucked
inside his mother’s womb, my tiny
grandson blooms, grows fingers,
toes, beating heart, searching soul.
His world also waiting. I wonder
if he’ll feel the absence of my hands.
Born into a touchless time, will he
believe all love comes with a six-
foot fence? Strangers smiles behind
Birds chirp from my neighbor’s
tree. Sun and cloud agree to an uneasy
truce. Waiting. Like the rest of us, for
whatever happens next. Labor pains of
new life, some other way of being alive
on a quickly spinning planet. Slower,
more careful. “Shelter-in-place little
one. I love you, but I cannot see you
right now.”

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