by Ruth Goring
- The sea squirt is born with a primitive brain and one eye. It cruises the ocean, and when it finds a surface to fasten to, the squirt eats its own eye and brain. Without movement, it no longer needs them.
- Today I read this, then shut my laptop and go for a walk.
- I open my ragged heart to the sun and shadows.
- We are in a pandemic and I am gorged with news.
- Rotted ventilators in crowded, chaotic hospitals. Mafiosos profiting from shortages. A New York family’s pent-up week with the disease, parents and small children feverish, draped over beds and furniture like torn paper, barely breathing.
- The family survived. So did a friend, the father of my goddaughter. I had not known of his infection. The prayers of others saved him.
- The day flows through me. Grief must move, that is its nature, I let it find a path.
- I keep an eye on fellow walkers. Sometimes they dodge me, sometimes I swerve into the street. This is the way we love each other now.
- We are all viral, coated with infection, or we could be.
- The streets are quiet, so few cars. The air is pure and rich, it pours into me like joy.
- Anxious houses lean toward the sun and beg it to stay.
- A psychologist who designed attachment therapy says our primal need is to belong, to be close to another human being, deeply held.
- I live alone.
- My legs carry me with brave sturdiness.
- What poems can we write these days but lists?
- I swerve for you. Put an accent on each word: I write to be with you.
RUTH GORING’S poetry collections are Soap Is Political and Yellow Doors; her poems have appeared in Rhino, Calyx, Iron Horse Literary Review, and many other venues. She also writes and illustrates children’s picture books (Adriana’s Angels / Los ángeles de Adriana; Picturing God). Her homes are Chicago and Colombia. Find her at ruthgoringbooks.com.
Photo: “Sea Squirt (Rhopalea sp.)” by Bernard Dupont