By Annette Gagliardi
We ate the last of the peanut
butter yesterday. I used up
the Almond milk on half-cup
of Harvest Bakery granola, which
wasn’t as good as I’d hoped
it would be, so, there won’t
be hot cocoa tomorrow,
or pancakes for that matter:
no eggs, no sugar, no batter mix.
I’ll have to make bread if we want
to have any for the rest of the week.
Hope the flour holds for one more batch.
Imogen says she’ll eat the orange, but
we both would rather have an apple.
“Sorry babe.” I say and we stick our
tongues out at each other and make
sad faces, then hug it out.
I was thinking soup for supper.
I’ll add a can of beans
to make enough for the five
of us, even though the kids
will turn up their noses at beans.
There’s talk in the news about
folks having food insecurity and
food deserts in certain areas.
I wonder if we qualify for
arid—we aren’t a desert yet.
Having the wolf sitting on my couch
fiddling with his red, light-up yo-yo
(winding the string round and round,
then letting it go to spin in air, maybe
return, maybe peter out and drool on the carpet),
is less fearsome than the newspaper
accounts of folks hospitalized and dying, with
thousands infected. I thought I’d be panicked.
He had a fever, but as other 7-year-olds do,
he bounced back within twenty-four hours,
then left us to sit and wait for five days
for the test results, which now confirm
that we are quarantined for the week.
I don’t mind staying inside. Our provisions
have been bolstered for just such an event
and we can order food to be delivered.
There is no need to go out. Wish I hadn’t
gone yesterday, but we were so sure—
It’s the suspense of this span of time,
waiting for the other shoe
hand-me-down left dangling
-the sounds of cough, rasp or gasp from us
older folks. Will we get a nip or a ravenous
bite? Will the wolf slink out the back door
without a word, or rage at one—or more
of us just after we have ceased vigilance?
It’s the waiting that’s the dare. This gauntlet of time
staring us into an unknown future.
What We Are Left With
spores — mushrooming
the scent of forever
flourishing — the contrast
and shadow — chiaroscuro
even in the dimming
of the day
we eat the calibrated
eggs we are dealt
without complaining —
a compunction —
never too late
to cobble together
certain the expansion will
be a reproductive —
alternation of generations
Annette Gagliardi has poetry published in Motherwell, Wisconsin Review, American Diversity Report, Origami Poems Project, Amethyst Review, Door IS A Jar, Down in the Dirt Online Magazine, Trouble Among the Stars, Poetry Quarterly, Sylvia Magazine, and others. She has poetry in three State’s poetry anthologies and her poem “Gourmand of Orange” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Our family has done alright in surviving this pandemic. We live in Minneapolis and have endured the George Floyd murder and subsequent rioting (of which I have not processed enough to write much poetry). Our daughter taught from the upstairs bedroom; our grandsons learned from a computer in the foyer and our preschool grand daughter kept us busy entertaining her. We were able to order food delivered during the 20 days we were quarantined. Our grandson had Covid-19 and then my husband.
Quarantine and Wolf-Bitten are about that time when the males in our household had the virus.
What We Are Left With is the remaining worry about any viral legacy.