Anne-Marie Oomen | Pandemic Poems for Us All #3
ANNE-MARIE OOMEN, Award-winning Michigan author, writer, poet, Interlochen Arts Academy, Writing Workshops, Poet in Residence, Writer in Residence, Writing Residence
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Pandemic Poems for Us All #3

Poems written in the moment, spurred by the immediacy of pandemic, and not much revised. Is it literature? Not yet! Well, maybe a couple of lines, but still, meant to be shared because what else can we do to compete with isolation?

Vaccine

Once decided, and without any idea of cost,

we figured out first how we’d break the sod,

to dig that dead orchard’s turf. We figured it

would take some work, and we’d have no help.

We figured out an old school strategy,

planned first for deer—the fence had foiled

us last time we tried—now a protective picket

pocked with posts every eight feet, heavy

mesh of wire, a gate, and buried trickle hose

with bucket standing at attention on the north,

then troweling the roots and building beds.

We could even add compost, left from

years abandonment—a rotted pile, never used.  

Manure, some organic dirt, top soil from our woods.

Is it this that led us out of viral funk?  Just

the idea of an attempt has, for three days,

kept at bay the mind’s disease, that noise.  

A garden is not much, but it changes

the way the light comes on. Or maybe it’s  

the spring, there is that, but in the end,

just today, we walk the field, rake

the weeds away, set the stakes, tape

a reckless boundary, get our hands

so dirty we have to scrub

even harder than we did before, and

perhaps that too is protecting us.