Behold This Pint of Oatmeal Cream Ale

Consider the fullness, the halfness,

the bare dented space on my ring finger

as I hold the pint, the sun

and the foam sliding

down the insides of my glass.

O regard the Great Pandemic!

The maskers and the anti-vaxers,

the moats we’ve dug around ourselves –

it’s far from over, but nevertheless

when I see her walk across the parking lot

to the picnic table where I shiver

in the late April afternoon sunshine…

no, strike that, not nevertheless, it’s because

the pandemic lingers, keeps its fingers

smudging all the glasses of hope that we hold –

when I see her walking toward me, cold and

carrying her body’s betrayal in her gait

(even though she went so far as to rend the flesh

where the invader lay, to disguise her own body

so it would cast a cold eye, so that it would pass by),

when I see her walking this way,

I stand and wrap my two good arms

around her shoulders, standing in the moat –

through her coat I feel her heart stuttering against her ribs

as she silently weeps, a bird that flutters and seeks

a castle window but I am a lone stone wall so

we just stand and stand there in the fading day

while all the kingdom’s souls

drink their beers and scroll,

one option after another,

all the time in the world,

the sun and the foam

sliding down my glass.


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