Defiance 4/20/20

I’m lying in bed, texting with my Princess,
I tell her I am so in love with her;
as of yesterday, 39 people here have died;
it’s been a month since her head
rested on my shoulder, hair in my face;
the epidemiologists say, take confirmed cases
and multiply by 100, so, 101500 cases here
in reality; not quite 10% of the population,
I probably know someone who is sick,
maybe without symptoms; reality is where I want to live
and reality sucks, missing her is aching
in my chest, worried that those I love
will fall ill, so many large and local talents
have already left us, and its not like
that doesn’t happen every day usually;
I measure my desire against the length
of time I can expect to have left;
another lover’s young cousin is recovering,
he says take the regular flu and make it
ten times worse, and that’s what this was;
in my back yard, a patch
of bright pink evening primroses, planted, no doubt
by birds, not by me, sprang up two months ago
I mow around them so they can reseed;
I see photos of workers loading bodies
into refrigerated trucks, they get paid
the first day in case they are too sick to come back;
mass graves being dug in other states;
I am digging holes for my plants and vegetables,
killing weed roots, enriching the soil;
gardening is hoping in the face of doubt,
waiting for something miraculous,
the first green shoots breaking the dirt,
at first weed and flower indistinguishable;
allergy attacks and coronavirus at first
often indistinguishable, death mimics pollen;
in my daily life, texting with a new person
suddenly realizing they are a new bloom,
so many weeds pop up from dating apps
that a real connection is as unexpected
as volunteer wildflowers, or the mint that resprouted;
every day now is unique, the gift of reappraised mortality;
I sit on the piano bench during our worship recording,
church done by 4 people with an empty sanctuary,
feeling in my body the absence of the assembly,
realizing that the Sunday after Easter this year
is the 10th anniversary of my last time
presiding at the table for communion,
being ordained a deacon took away
being able to do sacraments in the Methodist church
that I was able to do when merely licensed, a weird system,
getting kicked out of the ordained club was only one loss;
driving home, 5 or more colors of wildflowers
are blooming in the highway median;
life continues, with mine on a deep pause;
I am learning small things matter most,
longing to stand at my stove cooking for her
while she sits up in my bed studying;
I am able to see one of my lovers, and that connection
deepens and morphs, skin and heart and vision;
today I will plant the antique roses that were shipped
from a farm in east Texas, an act of defiance
against the real possibility that I will get sick,
against everything that is fucked up in our world;
an act of raising my middle finger to our liar-in-chief;
an act of planning for the near-time, maybe in weeks
when one of these will bloom, amazing fragrance,
one bud, cut, filling a room with rose scent,
and putting it next to her side of the bed
when she will once again be there,
her head on my shoulder.

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