while starglimmers glint through

morning sky burnt orange and some pink purple
before the clouds cloud over
the purple-red color of the compote glurping on low heat in the small pan
while the waffle iron sings on the counter
i think people are mad at me because i’m hard to love
maeve who’s at home with her nine-year-old says
the 10-minute-reset body scan in which i lay on the floor
and then stretch at the end like a cat after a long sleep
the two blue patches that appear where clouds have parted to reveal actual sky
as seen from the long afternoon gravel road walk
the magical wand she hands me for granting any wishes
and the magical seed pods i hand her to plant any wishes
and here is what we ask for while traversing the squirrel haven of fallen acorns:
food for all
clean water for all
healthcare for all
no more plastic in the ocean
endangered species blossoming back into life
leaders who care about the well-being of their people
and all life (minus deadly viruses) having what it needs to thrive and survive
look like they could be playground equipment juniper says
of the weird old satellite dishes whose cords encircle their bases
found at the top of the tree-filled hill
moonlight spilling in through the back bathroom window
while starglimmers glint through the bare limbs of trees

appearances of wild and ephemeral things

morning sunspill on pinkdesk surface
where i scribe and scribe card after card after card
sunlight moving through wings and feathers of the red tailed hawk
that swirls and circles and tilts and drifts
while three crows take turns catching up and diving
hello river, river is water, water is life we sing to the clear creek waters
tumbling over rocks and moving around the sand island we stand on
asking the wintercress permission to pluck and eat
the pink hanky i pluck from my hoodie pocket to dry my creekwet feet
dripping with the cool cold rush of spring wet
first outdoor laundry day! i write on the calendar that we use
to keep track of special firsts and special appearances of wild and ephemeral things
waving to yao yao’s foster family in china from my pink desk in wisconsin
while my face appears on a laptop screen in minnesota
whose camera is trained on the phone ami holds in her hand
where yao yao’s foster famiy is on the screen waving on delay

mom and dad and i laughing on video chat about corona hairdos
either those awkward looks of a just-learning cut-at-home head of hair
or the overgrown looks of those who usually go in for their monthly appointment

the small starwalk we take to the dark spot which isn’t fully dark but the least touched by overhanging trailer park streetlights
and the quiet we move in, opening our ears to let the sounds of the season’s first peepers to tumble in

first we begin with an annointing

in the dream i was making goofy faces to explain the silly joke at the gray-haired woman playing the flute to the sunset
who took her sunset serenade very seriously and said she couldn’t give me attention now, but would be able to in a few minutes
in the other dream, i was trying to remember where the bus stop was where my bike and i could catch a ride back home from campus
and i couldn’t, but someone at the intersection was headed that way, so she said she’d guide me
and on our walk there, we passed a small mardi gras but not mardi gras parade of people on foot handing out homemade treats in mini cookie cutter shapes (but the treats are greasy salty, not sugary sweet – like lil potato chips) and at some point i realize: hey – ya’ll are NOT six feet apart
and the little handfuls of treats are best enjoyed before thinking about health risks, or best not enjoyed at all
first, we begin with an annointing
i say to jennifer in a joking serious-ritual voice whose hair i’m about to cut
before i massage the lavender oil into her temples
the hand-drawn boring charts we flash the video camera
as if we’re in a real boring business zoom meeting with kp and sabrina
as well as the puppet that shouts CORONAVIRUS for us so that we don’t have to say it
and how well kp navigates the over-eager puppet (saying it even when it doesn’t need to be said) by saying
oh, very good, would you like to be a helper?
and: here i am practicing compassion and patience

almost instantly i say about the time lapse between putting out the suet block
and when chickadees and woodpeckers and titmice show up
laughing like we’re at a slumber party about the most cartoon-like-fart i’ve ever heard
escaping a real human as they bent down to pick up the bathmat
in the next room over

what i most want to hear

what i most want to hear is the u.s. president at a press conference on the  day the first covid-19 case was reported in the state of washington saying:

I know this will be hard. I know this is something we’ve never done together before. I know the stock market is going to hell but I don’t care about that right now – we can fix that after. My people, I’m going to need your commitment to caring for the larger whole. I’m going to need your commitments to going out only when you need to, to maintaining social distance, to acknowledging the seriousness of this situation and doing what needs to be done to get us through this.

I’m going to work tirelessly for you just as some of you will be in the coming weeks and months for us. I’m going to let science and math speak, I’m going to let health experts make the decisions for how we, together, will lessen the impact. I’m encouraging you to be kind to each other, to take care of each other, to check in on each other – because each of you is a necessary and beautiful part of a magnificent whole. Every one of you matters and I’m so grateful for the unique spark of life each of you carry and I want all of us to do everything we can to keep those sparks shimmer-shining.

At this time, it is imperative that we treat our family, our leaders (at least those who have everybody’s well-being in mind), our workers, our houseless, our under-resourced, our most vulnerable, our immuno-compromised, our neighbors, and even our oldest enemies with utmost kindness and respect.

I know the changes are drastic and extreme and rapidly coming at us – so is this virus. I know, for those of you losing jobs, for those of you without income, for those of you without healthcare, for those of you who are trying to figure out life at home with constant kids, for those of you who can’t be with your beloveds in the hospitals – the government will take care of you – that’s what it’s here for. We have access to the money and resources needed so that no one will suffer unnecessarily and we will share abundantly so everyone is well taken care of.

Dear people, let us take this time to act as if love and kindness and facts are what matter most. They are. And I will do my best, with humility, to lead us all through this – heads held high and hearts alive.

still, the daffodils spear up through the thawed ground

still, after these weeks, days, months of tracking
the happenings of this virus as it quickly/slowly spread its way to home,
still, it is a shock to see today (from around the world) reflected back to me
(makeshift morgues,
safety pods,
disinfection chambers,
lockdowns and shelter-at-homes,
wedding day face masks,
closed borders)
whose science fiction are we living in?
and what is the word for the messages becoming so quickly and deeply ingrained
that when the characters are standing too close to each other (clearly not social distancing) in the harry potter book i read aloud, my gut wants to call out to them make some space, people – where are your masks?

look these healthworkers in the eye (even if just in a photo), these public workers, these essential workers.  get on your knees and thank them
for the weight they carry, for moving through a day in too hot and too awkward protective gear that will not protect them from falling ill, for touching our groceries that we have touched, for handing us our change and receipts without flinching, for hustling while instagram fills with cozy images of home life

(all images from voice of america, day in photos over the past week)

Cao Junjie poses for a picture with his two-month old baby inside a safety pod he created to protect his baby from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a residential compound in Shanghai, China March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Xihao Jiang
A doctor shows the welcome desk of a consultation centre dedicated to covid19 suspected patients in Tinteniac, western france on March 27, 2020. – This consultation centre is located in a intermunicipal venue to remove patients at risk of infection from doctors’ offices in order to continue caring for other patients. (Photo by Damien MEYER / AFP)
This handout photo taken and released on March 26, 2020 by the Royal Thai Army shows soldiers wearing protective clothing and spraying disinfectant as they walk down a road amid preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in Bangkok. (Photo by Handout / ROYAL THAI ARMY / AFP)
An Indonesian bride wearing a face mask is sprayed inside a disinfection chamber on her wedding day, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Surabaya, East Java Province, Indonesia March 25, 2020 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Moch Asim/
Workers construct what is believed to be a makeshift morgue behind a hospital during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
People stand in marked places to keep a social distance at a fast food restaurant in London, Friday, March 20, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Palestinian groom Mohamed abu Daga and his bride Israa wear face masks amid the COVID-19 epidemic, during a photoshoot at a studio before their wedding ceremony in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 23, 2020. – Authorities in Gaza confirmed on March 22 the first two cases of novel coronavirus, identifying them as Palestinians who had travelled to Pakistan and were being held in quarantine since their return, as the United Nations warned of potential disastrous outcomes to an outbreak given the high poverty rates and weak health system in the coastal strip, under Israeli blockade since 2007. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)
Medical personnel help each other at a federal COVID-19 drive-thru testing site in the parking lot of Walmart in North Lake, Ill., Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The new coronavirus cause mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
A priest (C) reads prayers from the book of funeral rites by the coffin of a deceased person in the cemetery of Grassobbio, Lombardy, on March 23, 2020 in the absence of quarantined relatives. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)
A police officer chases street vendors in Kampala, Uganda, on March 26, 2020, after Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni directed the public to stay home for 32 days starting March 22, 2020 to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. – Ugandan authorities have identified 14 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in the country. All borders have been closed except for limited goods and authorised emergency flights. (Photo by Badru KATUMBA / AFP)
Patients wear personal protective equipment while maintaining social distancing as they wait in line for a COVID-19 test at Elmhurst Hospital Center, Wednesday, March 25, 2020, in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo sounded his most dire warning yet about the coronavirus pandemic Tuesday, saying the infection rate in New York is accelerating and the state could be as close as two weeks away from a crisis that sees 40,000 people in intensive care. Such a surge would overwhelm hospitals, which now have just 3,000 intensive care unit beds statewide. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Soldiers carry bags of groceries to be delivered to residents in Los Pinos neighborhood, as part of the measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tegucigalpa, Honduras March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera
A man removes his mask to stretch and take a deep breath across from cherry blossoms at the Yuyuantan Park in Beijing on Thursday, March 26, 2020. While many of the city’s world-famous tourist sites, including the sprawling Forbidden City ancient palace complex, remain closed, spring weather and budding cherry blossoms are coaxing outdoors citizens who have been largely confined to home for the last two months. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
A worker wearing a protective suit disinfects a globe-shaped public garden, following the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Algiers, Algeria March 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina

and still, the sandhill cranes fly overhead announcing their arrival
and the season of spring they tug with them like a banner
still, the redwinged blackbirds party in the bare branches
and call out across the gravel road, from wire to wire
still, the daffodils spear up through the thawed ground
still, a blue sky spattered white with clouds is a wonder to take in
still, the rain bulges the creeks
still the beaver dam seen in the valley on the walk down the road to the creek
still the mighty beaver dam – built over one winter whose imperfect geometry holds back the water
still the beaver dam, woven in shades of mottled bark to exposed yellow/brown wood
still the beaver dam is a wild architectural/engineering achievement to behold in almost-silent stillness (alongside small sounds of water)
while moving on foot from here to there

this is not meant to be a message of easy-out hope
it’s just the balance i strike
in order to still be able to breathe




everything was scrambled

a few ways jacob describes this long/rapidly-changing moment we are in:
bizarre and everything was scrambled
this moment whereupon all kinds of basic questions are needing to be asked
like: what is graduation
where is it
how do we do it?
the two googly eyes i secretly affix to the top of juniper’s thermos
and the peal after peal of laughter that rings out from her when she discovers it

windows are so important right now

dream: some annoying repetition
all about the guidelines (of social distancing and staying ‘safer at home’) and questioning whether or not i and the people around me
are adhering to them
and double checking and double checking
to be sure
the two deer that startle in the woods that i run alongside,
the gravel crunching under my running shoes,
they consider bolting, it seems, but stay still
as i make my way steadily by
the honking of a pair of geese floating in the smaller beaver pond
and the duck landing in the same water, skidding with ki’s feet on the surface
i say in a sad voice no threshold singers (to people in hospitals, in hospices)
to which juniper responds people have been playing music outside windows
to which i say windows are so important right now
our government doesn’t have our back says a nurse
on today’s episode of democracy now
in response to what is needed for healthcare workers to do their jobs
safely and well while facing the pandemical overwhelm
madrid is converting an ice rink to a makeshift morgue,
in new york, a refrigerator truck is pulled up to the hospital dock to hold bodies
baffling is the word i use to talk about not only the range of the symptoms the virus can have
but also about the range of asymptomatic to symptom-having one infected with the virus can be
baffling is the word i use after i’ve lit the dinner candles
but before we take the warm just-made tortillas into our hands
and eat

buen apetito

just add your favorite toppings
and buen apetito juniper says in her
pretend cooking show host voice
while we dig into her chilaquiles with homemade tortilla chips
in the cast iron on the stove

we scaffold ourselves in the sun patch on the side porch stepso
while we lift forkfuls of belated breakfast to our mouths
soil blackening juniper’s fingertips a she presses seeds into the trays of soil
at the kitchen table
how even the sound of one car
passing at 45 miles per hour
can drown out the patch of sandhill cranes
high overhead swirling and then V-ing
calling as they float/fly
our neighbor lisa rolling down her window
and then quickly rolling it back up saying don’t get close,
stand back – i’m a healthcare worker
as she stops on the gravel road to conference with us about cats
we’re keeping a close eye on it i say
about jennifer’s sickness
that seems mild and slowly morphs
with symptoms that could or could not be covid-19

lisi the gray cat snoring on the couch in his neon yarn crocheted nest
his shoulder flank twitching

the wild weave of sound

guess i’ll have to add that to my schedule i say
about the hour of playing with the cat (usually with bouncy balls)
that follows breakfast

juniper reading from Jennifer Dingle’s twitter thread that asks others to tell us about a young child but say “my co-worker” or “my friend’s co-worker” instead of their name.  now that meany people are working from home with kids at home:

My co-worker asked for yogurt and is now crying because I gave her yogurt.

My coworker told me “mama owls don’t have boobies like yours”. I’m filing a harassment claim with HR. HR is a llama doll. She then demanded I make her pancakes with 3 dips. It was very aggressive. THEN she proceeded to try to pull down my pants while I was making them. Either HR has a really good poker face, or doesn’t care, because she’s staring into the abyss with her corporate llama face.

My coworker wears headphones all day to deliberately ignore me. When I need to ask him something and tap him on the shoulder, he looks offended and angry. There’s just not a lot of synergy going on in this office.

“One of my ‘co-workers’ just flipped out because one pancake, of four, didn’t have chocolate chips.”

and we laugh and laugh at the table
the wild weave of sound that is kajillions of blackbirds and starlings
the trees/the air filled to the brim with their song and crackle
and though it’s too cold to open the windows, i want to
i want to be washed in it, i want to soak in it instead of the hum of indoor appliances
my sister reporting that after an hour and a half walk in the woods on the trails behind their house
that her ten-year old madix (who’d rather play a video game)
said wow – nature IS really cool!
but when asked to repeat it for a video he exclaimed
nature is really cruel
the absolute quietness
on my duskwalk to the mailbox
a great nightcap
for a day filled with longing to be sifting compost
or starting seeds in a greenhouse
or hauling wheelbarrows
under the wind whispering through the white pine
news of the safer at home order put into place by governer tony evers
how, a month ago, maybe even weeks ago, the concept of this might have shocked us all
but now, at this point, is par for the course:
How long will this safer at home order be in effect?
At this time, there is no end date.

Am I allowed to go outside?
Yes, if you wish to take a walk, go for a run, ride your bike, or take care of your yard, you are allowed to do so. The governor asks that you remain 6-feet away from others at all times.
Wisconsinites are being asked to interact with as few people as possible. That means you should interact with those whom you live with.
If you work at any of the essential businesses listed below, you are still allowed to go to work. However, any other business is being asked to close their doors for the time being.
Essential businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • Grocery Stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Hospitals
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Doctor’s Offices
  • Police Stations
  • Fire Stations
  • Garbage Pickup
  • Public Transport
  • Gas Stations
  • Laundromats


can we pray

the patch of porch sun we perch in on the steps
while eating our belated breakfast egg stacks
piled with window-grown sprouts
moss and the first green growth sequoyah says
during her turn to say an appreciation
before we close out the thoreau college video meeting
mom on the phone telling me she’s been sewing masks
saying how some of the patterns being circulated out there
don’t say anything about what type of fabric is best to use
which matches the many situations of the ever-shifting
or incomplete information coming at us from day to day
(for instance: the varying symptoms of the virus,
the max number of people in groups we’re allowed to gather in,
the ever-shifting orders from the various governers and mayors or none at all across the country
the lights and brights crayola markers i use
to draft/draw up a daily schedule
for these stay-at-home and walk-long-walks times
and how, most importantly, there is a slot for newsing/social media-ing
so that i don’t string it out throughout the day

can we pray she says instead of appreciations before dinner tonight
juniper asks before we sit down to the candlelight,
food still warm on the stove
and we name all of those in general and in specific
who are carrying the weight right now
who are at risk
who are underslept and overworried
who are underresourced
who are working tirelessly
who have no other adults in the home to check in with
who are alone
who are not alone enough
who have no homes to shelter at home in
whose homes were shelters that are kicking them out
who are worried sick
who are sick and worried
the lovingly arranged small potato taco offering
featuring homemade everything, including tortillas,
at our makeshift hallway altar near juniper’s photo of her dad