Pandemic Poem #31

or, Things Learned Walking 5 Miles on the Solstice

East to West, Roundabout

The distance traveled by

a roadkill raccoon’s liver

is twice that

of his smashed skull

and four times that

of his rigor mortised hands

held forever parallel

as though he had been estimating

how far from the white line

he had to travel

before being smashed

under a tire.

The guts of a plastic yellow

cigarette lighter

(the kind that burn your thumb

if you hold the encore flame too long

at a Milli Vanilli concert

in 1990)

are far more complex

than one might think


remain interestingly intact

when crushed.

Roundabouts have sidewalks and curb cuts

but you need only look

in one direction

before crossing.

Drivers are startled

by walkers

on roundabout sidewalks and curb cuts.

Perhaps unusually so.


Roundabout, West to East

Of all the items

available to landscape

a mailbox post,

bowling balls and marble chips

certainly make a statement.

The number of

wood screws

rusty nails

steel flanged nuts

hex bolts

nuts without bolts

bolts without nuts

tiny rubber gaskets

zinc washers

and lug nuts

is worrisome

if we want the world we’re moving

to stay together

when we arrive and unpack.

Sixty-eight cents and a sterling silver fork

(two quarters, one dime, eight pennies)

appeal to the magpie.

Full dirty diapers and

empty Red Bull cans

come, alarmingly,

in frequent and consistent clusters

in close proximity to

bridges and overpasses.