POEMS

By
ANNE WARD-MASTERSON

<blockquote>

Snowdrops

 

What happens when the good news isn’t good anymore?

When the storms of hate precipitate snows of division and lies for so long,

They cause avalanches:

Roaring walls of snow bury all in their path

Uprooting truth, filling ears and mouths with ice crystals

Swallowing souls under feet of frigid lies

Immobilizing the quick

Leaving them to at least fear dying;

Choking on the truth their frozen tongues cannot utter

Ears filled with snow refuse to hear?

You looked at me, silent for 48 breaths;

Weighing words in your heart, feeling them in your mouth

Swallowing the first responses, too easy to say, too full of the memory of the storm

You pluck at the tools on your bench

Looking for the one with the right heft

You breathe like a bellows: chest rising and falling

Breaths audible as you line up words

On the page in your mind… then:

Cling to one another anyway

Make the small good larger by celebrating it

Thank one another for what you each do everyday

As though it is a precious gift (because it is) and finally…

Remember to be as brave as snow drops

Improbable little flowers with delicate necks

That push through snow banks left by fierce winter storms saying:

It is time. It is spring. Let us begin again.

</blockquote>

 

To ventilate or not? 4-1-20

And now in our youth worshipping society,

I’m old

If I get this novel virus

They will look at my history of asthma,

The hole in my heart that never closed at birth

My G6PD Deficiency

And I WILL NOT

Get a ventilator

It’s not that I fear being dead

It’s that I know it will take days

For this tough old bird that I am

To give in

Give up trying to breathe

Through the mucus

Thick and sticky

Clogging my lungs

My airway collapsing

Like a straw in a creamy

Too thick milkshake

As my entire body strains

To pull air in

Just one more breath

Just one more

Just one

Just

Can I confess
When I first heard
This latest virus
Affects older people
People with under lying
Medical conditions
That doctors and nurses
Would have to triage patients
Choosing who lives
Who dies, But first,
Do no harm
(How can we inflict such a choice?)
That the young stayed carefree and
Were out partying
Whether to defy everything
(Honestly, how is kissing my
girlfriend going to kill grandma?)
Or as a desperate life affirming
Orgiastic fling
Before this virus lays
How many of us? down to sleep
Or some other reason
I purposely keep beyond my ken
And when the first politician
Told us
Grandparents
Should be glad to die
To save the economy
For their grandchildren
All I could think of
Was the last line
Of saving Private Ryan
Where the 80 year old man asks
His bewildered wife
“I am I a good person?
Did I live a good life?”
How do you measure that?
What measuring stick is long enough,
What scale can hold the weight of love or truth?
I don’t have an answer
Just that question looping around again
“I am a good person? Did
I live a good life?”

On the altar of the closing bell

You want me to die
To save the economy
You say it’s for all the children
But let’s be clear
Here and now
You think your portfolio
Is more important
Than a hug between
Married couples
Than story time
Or phone calls
To grandma
So just take your
Trickle down euthanasia
And shove it up
Your stock market
Get on your third best yacht
And sail it straight to hell
You deserve no less for
Sacrificing seniors
On the altar of the
Closing bell

I refuse to drink your
Kool Aid
I refuse to cause moral
Injury to any doctor
Or nurse by overwhelming
Our healthcare system
So your investments don’t get any worse
Suddenly the men who preached the
Pro-life point of view
Now tell me to kick the bucket
For grandchildren I don’t yet have
So just take your
Trickle down euthanasia
And shove it up
Your stock market
Get on your third best yacht
And sail it straight to hell
You deserve no less for
Sacrificing seniors
On the altar of the
Closing bell

All these millionaires
Telling me I’m expendable
That it’s patriotic to commit suicide
Maybe they’re the ones
Hoarding masks and ventilators
So they won’t be the ones
To actually die
What will you tell all the children
When they look you in the eye?
Whatever you say I hope they reply:
So just take your
Trickle down euthanasia
And shove it up
Your stock market
Get on your third best yacht
And sail it straight to hell
You deserve no less for
Sacrificing seniors
On the altar of the
Closing bell

Terrier
Windy day
Neighbor’s for sale sign
Comes undone
Hangs by a single chain
Dances the samba
To its own clapping beat
The sun courts the snow
Touching every flake
Wind pushes the
Cold through my cap
Whispers secrets across the bay
Terrier dances in the field
Skipping, leaping, twisting
Sunlight and wind cavorting past
Only stopping to thrust
Her muzzle in the snow
For the hidden scent of grass