This Silence is Measured, My Love

This silence is measured, my love.

She places her palms out—the air
of this collective gasp

transfigures them. Fear is salt thick;
hope—paramount but hard to come by.

Cat eyes a squirrel as he shimmies
up the tree—even he reserves

his hunting cackles—as the grey fur
dips into desiccated tomato vine

ash-burned basil. When time
shifts—this time we watch

the plates drift
apart—dissolve—

we dream a new mantle might
marry our outlook.

Take heed—All
women are watching in a halt now.

Lips sewn in wide stitches—we wait
in our masks. Cut us from

the virus at the helm.
The candle flickers in her eyes

in this night before the fall or finale.
And she had hoped for sharper implements

or maybe just the lone woodwind
to braise the whole symphony into resolve.

But what do words hold
when we cannot hold one another?