Paid in Pebbles

by Brian Klein

Spring is here. With winter’s blessing.
Maybe last March left off where this April begins.
Maybe this is when the pandemic ends.
The hour and minute hands start tick, ticking again.

For a year now we have been paid pebbles.
Hospitals filled. Airports and train stations emptied.
Theaters, bars, clubs, ballparks, concert halls silenced.
What is lost is more than a list.

We have been neighborhoods. Without neighbors.
We put on face masks and kept distance. 
Hollered at dusk from apartment windows and front porches.
Pots and pans clang, clanging again and again.

We have been families. Without family.
Segregated witnesses to birthdays, baptisms, weddings,
Holiday meals, anniversaries, funerals. Too many funerals.
What is lost is more than a list.

For a year now we have been broken apart. Worn smooth.
Tumbled down rivers and streams. Passed vineyards of canvas
And empty pockets under highway underpasses. Washed up where
blue-tubed machines breath for people in hospital beds.

Spring whispers. Summer is near.
Maybe we can stash those lists in a bottom desk drawer.
Maybe we heal after our upper arms get a nurse’s pinch or two.
Tick. Ticking. Again.

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