Gloria Mundi and There, In the Woods are from my book, Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It, published in 2019 by Sun Portal Press and available from Amazon in paperback or Kindle. In 2020, I received an Emerging Poets Award from the Allied Arts Foundation.
Corona, March 2020
Eyes, nose, mouth—
Inward-facing portals to mortality.
Our lungs take in so many things with air.
We’re inventing new hello’s.
we could bob our heads
or puff up our chests like pigeons.
Or pirouette like five-year-olds in tutus.
Maybe more of us will bow.
Who knew the universe was listening
when we began to equate success
with “going viral”?
This taste of what “we’re all connected” means—
a slap to wake us or
the first kick of a beating?
A useful test of global systems,
like flushing water through aging pipes?
Or a frightening one—
pressurized propane seeking the weakest weld?
We know so little yet.
Consider how untrained we are in vigilance,
especially about something we can’t see.
The miracles of biology can be ruthless.
So can we.
As soap and water replace holy water,
let us bless them. As we wash,
let counting seconds be holy too.
As celebrants wash their hands before a ritual,
let our hands summon us to presence
over and over and over and over again.
permanently attached at the wrists.
© Holly L. Thomas
There, in the woods
Before dawn while I waited by the road,
a movement in the black woods caught my eye.
A sliver of light hung from a tree
deep in the outstretched arms
of broad-shouldered hardwoods.
It held the far beam of a porch lamp
and danced with a flickered rhythm,
heedless and eerie.
I thought it was a wayward strip of something,
a fragment of a warning strung on wire,
a glittered semaphore,
a boundary mark.
It might as well have been
some shimmering scrap
ripped from an elvish hem.
Last night you told me
you are getting stronger.
You said your will
is tempering like steel.
What if this glimmer shone
from your new armor?
What if the light in the woods
was your new skin?
On this otherwise undistinguished evening,
a man at the garage collects money
in a four-by-five booth
with a rickety heater,
his accented “Thank you”
passed across gloved hands.
A child paws the velour of a pup’s ear,
wrestling in an uncoordinated tangle—
Somewhere off the Kona coast,
porpoises are racing for the hell of it.
Who knows? They could all be God.
Something mightily bare-skinned and brilliant,
as like to us
as the David to the marble
that waited for so long,
hovers in the world.
Pluck another apple, Eve,
and finish it.
We are all promises
watching to see
how we will keep
©Holly L. Thomas