Equinox Lovesong During Late Stage Pandemic



After the windstorms, we wake
to snowslides of petals on the grass,
First loss of the season, these lung-soft ghosts.

Fire-striped tulips affront our sorrow,
waving their wild colors as we pass.
After the storms, we awaken

to what we should have known,
that the first kiss could also be the last.
Memories linger like soft little ghosts.

A flotilla of pollen cloaks the lakeshore,
concealing the water glass surface–
opaque in the storm’s wake.

We used to fear a certain swimming-hole,
so dark, where the children might slip from our grasp.
Time has turned our fears into mean little ghosts

that drag us down like an undertow,
our breath heavy in the laden air.
After each rainstorm we’re awake
to a springtide of loss, these sallow ghosts

This poem is a variation on a villanelle I started a few years ago during April and that I recently revised a bit.

Dark pools of water show up frequently in my dreams, and they show up in my poems, as well.

Sometimes I see animals coming up out of the water such as alligators. In general, when I see dark, murky waters in my dreams, I think I’m dealing with the unconscious mind, memories I might be afraid to look at.

But if I do manage to sit with the fears during the dream, the water sometimes will become clear and the creatures inhabiting the dreamscape become colorful and whimsical, not at all scary and creepy.

My poem doesn’t get past the fears as the speaker contemplates loss of petals, the memories in the dark pools of water, and in the background, the loss of so many lives to covid.

Sketchbook/diary

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