Originally published in Index for the Next World, Issue 1
Shelter in Place, Day 16
Find acid to induce curdling– lemon or vinegar
so many things taste sour nowadays
let sit for 15 minutes
how quickly things can change
is half and half a better approximate?
I was only allowed one
jug of milk at the store
Mixing butter and milk won’t do it
just another failure of language, like
social distancing or camera phone
there wasn’t any sugar in the store either,
they say it is like wartime almost,
victory gardens again, can we do
without with that much dignity?
I feel hardly as brave.
borrowing a cup from the neighbors seems risky,
never have we needed each other more
Maybe I will bake the cake next week
will we learn anything
from this practice of waiting?
Maybe it will be safe to go out again before the fires come
nearby smoke, reason to stay inside,
reason to prepare to leave quickly
Who has all the buttermilk, the sugar, the money
what are you saving it for?
When was toilet paper even invented?
we existed before it did,
and prison cells, and 2-day delivery, ATM’s.
Didn’t buttermilk come from what was leftover, anyway?
after this, after all this, can we make something sweet
from what is left behind?
Originally published in Thimble Literary Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 2
“Just a little bit, they only
need to go down an inch,
make a small hole, use your pinkie,
put the seeds in,
Elders pass on practice with invocation of earth under fingernails
It doesn’t matter so much if the rows are straight
so long as we remember ourselves.
We can spend a day like this, or a life,
let afternoons pass under
shifting light and swollen clouds.
Plants need no permission, only our exhale,
sunbeams, a thin veil of rain.
How many more hopeful acts do we have left?
After a thousand tragedies,
sleepless nights staring up at the rafters,
the ground beneath
is waiting to begin again,
the seeds will still be true.
For the students
originally published in the English Leadership Quarterly
Sometimes we sit in circles with these questions-
What are you afraid of?
Who are your heroes and why?
What do you do in your free time that really makes you free?
My students answer-