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Dispatch #023

3 Poems | Pandemic Advice | Strange Spring | Stay-at-Home

By Vivian Wagner


Pandemic Advice 
 
 
Buddha knocked  
on my door 
this morning  
and from a safe 
distance told me  
not to worry. 
“We have nothing  
to start with, so  
nothing to lose,” 
he said, miming a hug 
before turning away 
and disappearing down  
an empty street. 


*

Strange Spring 
  
 
The cherry tree’s heavy 
with blooms, bending 
under the weight  
of its blessings toward 
a forgiving earth, 
while grackles, 
scratching a roof, 
chuckle about the unseen 
abundance of air.  
I’d like to remember 
what it was like 
before everything 
turned upside-down, 
but instead must admire  
what my eyes insist  
on righting. 


*

Stay-at-Home 
  
 
We adhere 
to the moment, 
affix ourselves  
to desks and screens, 
anchor our days 
to tree roots stretching  
beneath houses, attach  
ourselves to faith. 
The order’s binding, 
shot through  
with the power 
of a legal bolt,  
and we feel 
the surety  
of this bond, 
braced against  
its wording, 
caught in its grip. 
Society starts to cohere  
and connect, 
coupling impulse  
with rule, 
glued by fear  
and hitched 
by a hold  
on the future. 
As a hook  
finds the soft 
inner flesh  
of a fish’s cheek, 
so sickness 
latches onto  
our hearts,  
our lungs,  
uniting us  
through our 
cells’ walls. 

Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she’s an associate professor of English at Muskingum University. Her work has appeared in Slice Magazine, Muse/A Journal, Forage Poetry Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Gone Lawn, The Atlantic, Narratively, The Ilanot Review, Silk Road Review, Zone 3Bending Genres, and other publications. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music(Citadel-Kensington); a full-length poetry collection, Raising (Clare Songbirds Publishing House); and three poetry chapbooks: The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books), Making (Origami Poems Project), and Curiosities (Unsolicited Press).

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