Three Poems

By Mary Strong Jackson

Shutdown

time to use the silence
of our stilled bodies

to turn inward
to feel the best unease

then our hearts will throw
themselves against our ribs

and we might feel
the pulse of others

Pause

Gaia gave us canyons in reds, yellows, and pinks,
and redwoods to live among giants
so we would know small

know where we fit.
We made mountains of buffalo skulls,
harpooned whale after whale for lamp oil.

If Gaia was the mother who lived in a shoe
she’d whip us all soundly and send us to bed,
but that is not her way.

She doesn’t control floods filling the plains,
doesn’t halt fires lapping up a koala’s fur,
doesn’t stop viruses from taking old men chatting on park benches.

She knows this time offers a pause
to check our frantic ways
time to clear her dark-skied lungs

time to whisper to our children,
See the deer in the meadow
see how they lift their eyes
to our quiet voices and listen

Virus 2020

Were the gears of watches
fashioned after a hummingbird’s
tiny muscles bumping its brother
off the red petunias in clockwork precision

and the orange and yellow scarf
on the neck of the dark-haired woman
was the cloth’s color copied from the tanager’s
orange neck, yellow chest, and black wings

Does the lizard’s dash, pause, scurry, and stop inform how to punctuate our lines
Rock squirrels and gophers
recuse themselves from view,
examples for us in 2020

I’ll wait for the toads
I’ll watch chicks change from downy yellow to feathered hens
they don’t yet know to fear the masked raccoon
his leather pawed digits reaching in the gaps of a homemade coop

or was that my dream of opposing sides
with guns, masks, data of deaths,
hands reaching for food
the silent storm roiling toward us
with no sounds of thunder
no second’s rule for the closeness
of the strike

Mary Strong Jackson’s work has appeared in journals and anthologies in the Unites States and England. Her chapbooks include, From Other Tongues, The Never-Ending Poem, Witnesses, No Buried Dogs, Between Door and Frame, and Clippings. Mary lives near Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

I live and work near Santa Fe, New Mexico in the southwestern United States. Before CoVid, I facilitated poetry groups at a men’s shelter, and at a women’s facility, also. Since CoVid, I am raising 8 chickens, mortaring stones into a wall, feeding birds, and hoping to see changes soon in the United States after the presidential election. I have been writing poems for many years.  During the time of this pandemic, I have written many CoVid poems, and Chicken/CoVid Haiku also.

I once lived in Southend-on-Sea where I worked as a social worker for about 6 months. I loved my time in England.

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Constantin Severin
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1 month ago

Your poetry is so beautiful and moving, like a starry night by Van Gogh…

Mary Strong Jackson
Guest
29 days ago

Thank you, Constantine! I appreciate your response to my work.
Mary

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