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Tuesday, May 12, 2020


by Grant Clauser

So here we are, tucked into the house
with nothing but sighs to lengthen
and shorten the hours
while sickness stalks the season
like cracks in a sidewalk
children are taught to avoid.
We're listening to the kitchen radio
report number after number,
ten more dead in our county
as we stir tomatoes in a pot,
add basil, garlic, one glug
of wine and one of olive oil,
and slowly the house turns into
something other than a house
from mixing and stirring simple things—
pot of steaming pasta, breadsmell from the oven,
mingle like birdcall in the backyard
to help us forget our fear of news and neighbors
to become a kind of blessing we savor,
acting normal when the world is not.
It's a skill, I think, not the sauce, though
that too takes practice, but the mingling
we make of this. One life kneading another,
one day becomes the next, an hour
staring out the window becomes an afternoon
we soon forget. And we try to forget too
the money we've lost, the sunlight we're missing,
the ambulance pulling shadows down the road.
And now our old complaints get older
with disuse until they fade away, replaced
with new ones. And now the sauce is bubbling,
tongue tip on the wooden spoon says it's done.
Somehow we all sit down to dinner,
cross hands as we reach for bread.
The old dog under the table,
confused as always, still
rests his head on my knee.

Grant Clauser's fifth book Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven is forthcoming from Codhill Press. He's won the Cider Press Book Award and the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. He works as an editor and teaches poetry at Rosemont College, and can be found on twitter at @uniambic