Resuming…

I have been too dispirited for my normal blog posts, but life goes on, inexorably.  Here is a poem about this particular time:

limeMediation in an Election Year, 2016

When the house she and her husband
built by hand went up in flames
just after they finished
the intricate panes of the central rose window,
Margaret Sanger, sixth of eleven
children, gave up on things material
and devoted herself to what we call
(because of her) birth control. Antique
methods: the pessary,
a little boric acid, the douche,
imported from Europe. She was jailed
just for saying the words, the idea
“un-American.”

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxWhat is it to be
“American”? Is it sitting among lime trees
at the garden table of a house borrowed
from a wealthy friend
who summers at Martha’s Vineyard?
Eating warm scones while the crows cadenza
their pleasure at the easy pickings, and
the friend’s adored, medicated,
aged dog wheezes at your feet?
Down the road, perhaps only a mile or two,
the kids in foster care are bused
to the beach, or play on asphalt with
an insufficiently inflated ball.
It’s likely they’re medicated, too, for
the irrepressible energy we once
called high spirits, or the clinical depression
we used to call sadness—
so much to be sad about as the fragile net
frays, the net that once seemed to hold
each individual person in
an embrace of striving and belief and comfort
the way a cobweb catches and holds
nourishment for the spider,
the net so improbably strung
it’s hard to imagine how the spider floats
across that void to hang her silk,
and yet there it is, unremarked
until you stumble into it,
destroy the complex weaving.

Then what? The spider perishes or
starts over to the accompaniment
of leaf-blowers and cars, the jackhammer
in the street. This neighbor-
hood is full of laborers,
men who install the new appliances
and take the old ones away, who prune
and manicure the lawns and lime trees
while the owners, with their own worries, head off
in suits to their desks or jet
vacationward. Everyone
engaged, the guy who tars the roof,
the nurse’s aid who clangs the stainless
bedpans, the wary cops
and the harried case workers, the teacher who,
despite paperwork and tests
tries to instill some idea
of what it is to think, to question,
to consider, the checker
whose corns ache, the woman
with a PhD in gender studies
who pays the rent by making cold calls
for home security.

Something that used to hold us
haphazardly
but hopefully together
rips and drifts.
Meanwhile,
the spiders continue their work
and babies, oblivious
to intent or accident,
continue to be born.

Meryl Natchez

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