"While Waiting for Curbside Pick-Up" by Jeff Bernstein



Contemplate the rhythm of a pandemic,

listen, listen, fiddleheads open and trees

riot quietly from flower to leaf, invisible

sadness takes the meadow among vivid

songbirds in full karaoke. Late winter

walks fade in the rearview mirror, daughter

now visits most every weekend, last Sunday

she and boyfriend built raised beds,

timbers fairly gleamed in the sun’s reflection

off the solar panels that replicate sky

from the barn roof. Try to imagine next fall’s

harvest with no end in view, son’s on FaceTime,

he’s returned to the other coast after two months

in the hills of Central Vermont with the parents,

too still; safe, yes, but silent. A frail, fraying world

connected by a surfeit of screens while

ancient dog steps gingerly through the soft,

soft grass and shrubs I never noticed before

dispatch missives of delicate pink-white

threads on faint evening breezes.


So much certainty is gone, or what

we used to call certainty, before

that Wednesday when shutdowns cascaded

from the parquet floor of the NBA

to the mountains. Around the world really.

Still, depend on some things: late afternoon

videocalls, a cacophony of peepers

that does not fade until after midnight,

yellow warblers, full-throated at first light, wi