Poetry | August 2020 | Poetry | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine
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Poetry | August 2020 

Last Updated: 08/06/2020 10:15 am

we are all alone together


There Is Beauty in All

The old tree stands strong
Where her seed was once small
Reviewing the memories
That have helped her grow tall
It’s fall once again
And her leaves will soon die
They’ll be back soon
But it’s still a hard goodbye
She marvels at the colors
And how the leaves fall without fear
Because what’s the point in fearing
Something that happens each year?
Soon her leaves are gone
And she misses them so
But she understands
Why they needed to go
The tree stands alone
But still, she stands tall
Because even she knows
There is beauty in all

—Abilene Brown Adelman (13 years)

A Place for You

Second grade poets gather
Michael starts to read
“My Uncle’s Death”
Lower lip quivers, tears follow, and the words catch in his throat
We hold our breath
Vanessa drapes an arm ‘round his shoulders and
someone presses Kleenex into his hand
There’ve been no tears since that tragedy, months ago
but now
Six simple lines
and the heart opens
You loved your Uncle Bill so much

Malik doesn’t remember him
Dead of an overdose, when he was just two
But now there’s a hole in his life
Where a dad would be
Stunned, we sit speechless
I carry your words for days like a sacred trust
You fell in love with poetry that year
Called me your hero
While you were mine

“She won’t be any trouble” the father says
Handing over his newly claimed daughter
But Mya hides under tables, screams in my face, and cries
She’s hardly been to school, barely reads or writes
Bullies and smacks her classmates
And I catch glimpses of the life she’s left behind
Running wild through the streets of Newburgh, late at night
Mom, a crack addict, and yet-
Here you are, tying everyone’s shoes
We learn the art of patience
And you, of trust, it is enough
When you are ready, there is a place for you here

Next to me

—Julie Cash

Some Things You Should Know about EMTs and Some Things You Shouldn’t Know about EMTs and Some Other Things

We are not invulnerable. Mostly because we’re not a hundred percent sure what “invulnerable” means.
Minimum wage.
The holiest thing in the world is sleep. And life.
It’s impossible to treat a patient while wearing a seatbelt.
We never drive by the ocean.
No health insurance. Who can afford it?
To survive = overtime.
My old partner fell asleep while driving the ambulance.
Overtime = no sleep.
Nurses are beautiful.
You can’t see the moon from the inside of an ambulance.
Only twelve percent of EMTs actually do inventory. The rest just glance for three seconds and guess.
Most ambulance drivers are about 19 years old. Except my partner is 50.
Free stethoscopes. That don’t work.
No one eats unhealthier than an EMT.
No lunch breaks. Because no breaks.
If an EMT has a patient in back and the EMT is asleep, that EMT will burn in hell. If they sit in what’s called “the Captain’s chair,” they’ll just go to purgatory for 600 years. Real EMTs can always see a patient’s airway.
If you see an ambulance go through a red light while speeding without slowing down or looking in both directions, they’re breaking the law.
If you have a boss who likes to walk with his chest puffed out, you have my old boss.
Lots of vets. Because the worst jobs always go to vets. How many tenure-track creative writing professors are vets?  Just one. In the entire country. How many EMTs are vets? 78.9 percent.
4 am sucks. Midnight’s OK.
There’s no such thing as ghosts.
If you’re lucky, you marry a nurse. If you’re unlucky, you marry another EMT. And if you’re really lucky, you become a nurse.
New EMTs curse a lot, because they haven’t seen anything. It’s called pretending. Lifers are silent. Because they’ve seen everything.
Closed windows are for rookies.
Everybody is ugly once they have blood on them.
If you ever see an EMT with an untucked shirt, run in the opposite direction.
Ambulance companies are billion-dollar companies. So...minimum wage? Huh? (Do the math.)
Oxygen is a drug.
Let us cut in line if we’re in uniform. Please. Jesus, please.
I’d give my life to save lives.

—Ron Riekki

On My Birthday

Today I’m turning
28 years old and
21 days sober.

I’m happy when I’m
running really hard
on these roads
erasing you and
remembering me.

My sneakers are the
butt of a pencil
smearing your straight lines
with each step

My feet are blistered
and scabbed, my calves
and hamstrings torn and sore.
I am happy a lot these days.

—Paula Dutcher

All the Strip Clubs Down the Street from Monsanto

None of them have yet to close
for public health purposes.

In fact, it's Pajama Party Wednesday
feat. six-dollar Crown
and none of your favorite sports
on the big screen.

No touching allowed
unless overcome
with a grand sense
of fatalism.

—Joseph Goosey

Preparing for the Coronavirus Shutdown

I borrowed a very long book
from the library
and bought yeast
to bake bread.

I pulled a crochet kit
from the closet
and built the frame
of a jigsaw puzzle.

I asked friends
for recommendations
for shows
to binge.

It all remains

as I am
at every daily count
of loss,

lives, like mine,
who thought
they’d find more time.

—Vicki L. Wilson

This Is Just to Say

The kitchen closes at five
By now the stations
Have been swept, scrubbed, and sanitized
And we want to go home.

The register has been closed,
And the daily deposit made,
The coffee pots have been cleaned,
And set out to dry.

The ovens have been turned off,
The flames extinguished,
And the scraps fed
to the chickens.

There is nothing more we can do
For so little.

—Maggie Hayes

Other Things

The sun’s sparklings off
The moving creek, like diamond
Chips on molten glass.

—James Lichtenberg

Why are you mad?
We only want justice.

Why are you mad?
We only want you
to hear us.

Why are you mad?
We want you to stop
taking from us.

Why are you mad?
We want you to stop
killing us!!

Enough is enough.
No more being used
and abused.

Yes it's that's
serious, we are dying.

Am I being too loud
for you!?

You're gonna hear us
today and every day.

We're forcing change
even if you're not

This is long overdue
so you might as well
get in the back while
we lead the way!

—Tiera Lynne

111 Days

A Love Letter to Governor Cuomo and the People of NYC

Metta-Loving Kindness Meditation:
May I, you, and all beings be safe, be happy, be healthy, live with ease

Governor Andrew Cuomo
“Love wins. Always.”

True love lives in the tender green field we passed
clawing our way to the top of the mountain.
42 days up its craggy cliff while death hung
like a thick singing fog over people’s heads,
listening to pots and pans clanging together,
one hundred thousand metal spoons hitting cast iron resolve.

Love wins. Always.

True love lives in the tender green field we passed
taking most measured steps down the other side.
69 days of holding the collective breath grounded
in rooms alone together listening to sirens roaring,
people offering what is most essential driving
home the lovelight that takes away the gray
shadows of sickness as we all leave
our outer shells outside on the porch.

Love wins. Always.

Inside so green and vulnerable a new organism
is making one out of many listening when words
won't come unexpected education commences.
Holding our possible quiet better angels up this time,
so much stronger than jabbering demons.
Out of these lessons we find the medicine is ourselves.

Love wins. Always.

—Lori Corry


I’m afraid my engine’s dead,
stalled for an eternity in an era
of muck.
Shit-tank holding period,
the vertebrae in my lower spine
fusing into the lumbar, up past
the shoulders into the back
of my head. I checked the oil
and vital fluids, and all obvious

suspects. Maybe it’s the battery,
or the starter. My mechanic doesn’t
wear a mask
and wants me there
at 7:30 in the morning. I don’t
know what to do. Maybe he
can bring a tow truck while I
stay in the house and yell out
the windows, tell them to give
it a good swift kick. It often works
for me.

—John Dorroh

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