Poetry | June 2020 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

she said: “let's get together soon”
i didn't know she meant soon
as in never


I Carry

In my heart,
The sound of a cat purring,
The soothing sound of crickets chirping,
A wind chime singing its song,
And the waves crashing on the beach.
Beautiful African violets blooming,
The saying, “Never give up,”
And last,
The sound of the rain, Hitting on the roof.

In my head,
All the friends I’ve made,
Christmas time and opening presents,
Memories and more,
Snowboarding, school, all my teachers,
How tiny the kittens once were,
On the beach catching frogs,
All 100 in a day,
But mostly,
Memories of happy times,
That can’t be forgotten.

—Haleigh Rabideau (8 years)

Mornings During the Virus

When we can touch, I will invite you on the porch to sit
next to me. The swing now empty, has shadows from before.

Days, I fill it with birdsong. There are many birds whose voice
I never noticed until now. Some birds have raucous voices.

An especially brave wren gently taps the glass. Our feeder is empty.
We cannot take the risk. When we can touch, I will summon you early,

ask you to stomp on the porch, and make me greet the hummingbirds.
My father, now gone, used to try and catch them going off to business,

to their Blue-plate special flowers. If we waste the day,
the peepers will join us with their tedious love songs.  I will

make us pots of tea. I hope I will not take this for granted. Mornings
are short, remembering a long time. If you cannot be with me, I will mourn you.

Forgive me ahead of time, but I will notice for you, I will try to
make all this matter. If you can be with me, forgive me, but the tea will cool

and we will squander hours. The peepers and birds will go silent. I will listen
for you. The music of your voice will replace the need for all the rest.

—Laurie Byro

All that We Hear en Los Estados Unidos

Ellos dicen: Ve a dormir!
You tremble.
Tú preguntas: ¿Qué es este lugar?
Their eyes tell you nothing.
Tú recuerdas tu madre siempre decía: Dulces sueños, niñito.
You try to remember her face.
Tú preguntas ¿Cuándo volverá mi madre?
They say: Soon. They say: Pronto.
Ellos dicen: ¡Para de llorar!  Cry baby!
Your tears flow like the river from which they dragged her.
Ellos dicen: ¡Silencio!
Your small heart leaps with fear.
Ellos preguntan: ¿Te gusta ice cream? ¿Te gusta Coca Cola? ¿Te gusta chicken nuggets?
Your stomach churns with hunger.
Tú dices: No. No tengo hambre.
You remember her hand on your cheek como una bendición del sacerdote.
Tú preguntas: ¿Cuándo volverá mi madre?
They say: Soon. They say: Pronto.

—Dina Greenberg

Just Because He's Not There

I think I know
when the dead are
I won't find
I won't
find. But at least I'll
know it.

The railroad tracks
my house
won't ride my
won't run
through a sunset
backwards. Certain

things don't happen
and some not
Possible is all
that's left
we're born
And that's happened

I kick a rock,
loosen a dead beer
can down
by the
It's caved
and useless.

I'm still talking
to anyone who might be
But I'll tell you
not listening.
I think I know
when a thing is

—Don Downey

When Sadness Comes

“There is nothing I can do
against your coming.
When I awaken, I am still with thee.”
—From “Having It Out with Melancholy” by Jane Kenyon

He hovers over your bed, snatches the morning sunshine, sticks it in his pipe.
He croons, be my guest, bends to blow “the bile of desolation” into your lungs.

You avoid his stare, look at the blank wall instead; it offers no advice. The room
holds its breath. You break the silence with a muffled sob.

Sadness does not offer you a tissue.

Guilt drops by, puts her arm around his shoulder, nudges your body
like it’s a sleeping cat. You turn over, but she grabs the pillow, demands your attention.

Guilt is the mother of all feelings.
Sadness tips his hat, takes a step back.

You slink out of bed, force your feet to move you to the kitchen for coffee,
to the closet for clothes. Sadness smiles slowly like a saxophone player, says

I’ll be here all day.

—Lisa Caloro


Cat is at home in the empty house
Within herself, she is at home
She will find sustenance there around her
If she find none, still she is at home
She will survive the way she will
If she cannot, she will accept
Cat will do what she will do
Within herself, she will maintain
Within herself, she is at home

—Andrew Joffe


Easter and
the Passover are gone.
In isolation, each day
I rise again, my brow
a lintel on which the names
of the dead are written in
light: Mother, father, sister,
brother, husband,
first born son.

In the garden, the Lenten
roses bend toward the earth
and, where last night’s rough wind passed
  over them, the tossed cups of daffodils
  cluster, unable to hold
  a drop.

I do believe Elijah is coming.

The faces of my friends
on Zoom pixilate as they speak
of masks and growing their own potatoes.
How are you, they ask.
I am well.

Yesterday, after the last day
of my last job was done, I longed
to speak to my sister again,
to tell her how it is now, how
her daughter is recovering
from Covid, how
I am filled with grief but also

how I walk my solitary drive
where the trees creak and the spring
  air rushes to fill the space between
  buds, delicate
  as alveoli,
how that morning, a bird
how that morning, a bird
sang its love song at my window,
how each night
I leave the door open.

—Celia Watson Seupel

The Order of Things

At night before retiring
she folds slacks just so
maintaining a proper
order to things

ever since she learned
her birthday was shared
with her grandmother
who showered in Auschwitz.

We do what we can, these
days, they must have thought
while hiding in cellars or
holding at home

in ghettos awaiting
The Great God Random
to select his next prey.

Then things got so lucky,
so rosy, we forgot
to worship his razor wit,
and he felt it time to

grab our attention
and now we huddle
hiding alone.

—Joe A. Oppenheimer

A Reckoning

Your feet smell like dust
My three-year-old announces,
Hanging upside down from the armchair
In our bedroom.
Soon enough, soon enough
I think, uncertain whether to laugh or cry.
Such words to a younger father
Might have prompted mock outrage and
A tossed pillow, but I am old
And I cannot blame her.
So I turn my head
To watch the crows settle in a meadow
Still brittle with the end of winter.
Certain that she and I hold either end of a truth
That neither of us can change,
Though only one of us knows enough
To want to.

—Kemp Battle

Love in the Time of Corona

don't touch me


—Peter Coco


[|;;]      [|]

—Josephine Johnston


Dark snores a song,
Beyond the precast wall.
Companion comfort, my respire

—Tina Dybvik

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