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Tuesday, November 10, 2020


by Joan Mazza

“The Truth Dawns,” a painting at Fruitful Dark.

                I’ll never tell a lie. —Jimmy Carter, 1976.

And now the long trek back to sanity, without
a daily outrage or ten, without the avalanche of lies,
earthquakes of violations of the Hatch Act,
projecting corruption onto others. We’ll climb
back to believe in science based on evidence,
dismantle claims of conspiracies without basis.
We’ll embark on a clear plan to tackle a virus
that has tackled us, one that will kill another million
in the world before its spread slows. Let us return
to curiosity and real conversation without name-
calling, without mocking names and appearance,
without shaming skin shade and hairstyles. Let’s
educate ourselves about nuance and subtlety,
the fluidity of gender and identity, how temperament
and preferences change across our lives. Let us teach
our children how to manage complex emotions
and validate their experience of confusion. Let’s preach
honesty as a practical living strategy, more than a virtue.
Finally decent, we end the gaslighting and distortion,
the refusal to be transparent after the promise.
Let’s accept truth as not always pretty, but embrace
it as a guide toward what is real and tangible
as apples, tactile and heartening as someone
looking into your eyes and squeezing your hand,
comforting as a poem at a president’s inauguration.

Joan Mazza worked as a medical microbiologist, psychotherapist, and taught workshops on understanding dreams and nightmares. She is the author of six books, including Dreaming Your Real Self, and her work has appeared in Italian Americana, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, and The Nation. She lives in rural central Virginia where she writes a poem every day and has been baking bread since before Covid19.