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Sunday, May 02, 2021


by Diane Vogel Ferri

People lined up in their cars at a food distribution site in San Antonio, Tex., in April 2020.Credit...Credit: William Luther/The San Antonio Express-News, via Associated Press and The New York Times.

My wall calendar helps me to visualize
my life, the plans I hold dear, the people
I must see so they also see me

At first the lines were through the
scribbling on my calendar,  an oddity,
disappointing at most—a temporary month

Sometimes there were two lines,
an X-ing out, a permanent loss
I catalogued the failures in my journal

Then the lines were of standing humans
waiting to vote, car-lines of hungry children
waiting for the food school had denied them

lines circling the parking lots for tests,
lines at the border, lines at the shelters,
lines at the unemployment office,

lines in the streets to confront the wizard 
behind the curtain, asking when we will be normal? 
But he was a fraud, a canceler of science, of truth

Freedom was not taken by a government
freedom was not taken at all, only
innocent lives, their coffins in orderly lines

The lines are now for a miracle,
for we who are left, whose lives have not
been crossed out, who are free to live.

Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet, and writer living in Solon, Ohio. Her newest novel is No Life But This: A Novel of Emily Warren Roebling. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Raven’s Perch, Yellow Arrow Journal, and Good Works Review among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals such as Wend Poetry, Her Words, Rubbertop Review, and Poet Lore. Her previous publications are Liquid Rubies (poetry), The Volume of Our Incongruity (poetry), The Desire Path (novel).