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Saturday, April 11, 2020


by Jim Gustafson

the dead are closer sometimes than others.
Now very near all around. Pushing
the thoughts away is not possible now.

It seems we need to keep score,
for reasons I do not understand
Yesterday, I worked my ass off

moving paving stones, lining them up
trying to get them straight and level.
I wanted them to look like I knew

something I do not really know.
I wanted to bring order
to the chaos all around me.

Today, too, will be the same.
I will seek order, make lists,
check things off, as if, it makes

a difference.  I know better, yet pretend.
The alternatives are limited. They float
in the air. I am ducking their swats.

I cover my face to hide my nose
from its odor, which is invisible too.
These days will go on

These days will become nameless
The sabbath shall melt away
my prayers now only words of fear.

Jim Gustafson is the author of three books of poetry: Friar Fred’s Diary (Big Table 2018), Unassisted Living (Big Table 2017), Driving Home (Aldrich Press 2013). His poems have appeared in Rattle, Poetry Quarterly, Tishman Review, The New Guard, Prick of the Spindle, and other journals. Jim and his wife Connie live in Fort Myers, Florida where he reads, writes, pulls weeds, and lines up paving stones.