House Arrest 13 (Ode Perverse)

House Arrest

I check the weather forecast every day
(a walker wants to know what gear to wear),
and since the autumn fires, it’s my way
to note pollution levels in the air.
What I assumed was excellent was not;
most midday readings came up “moderate”
(although the sky was blue, it wasn’t “good”
I saw on weather apps). But now a lot
of cars are parked and factories have quit:
clean atmosphere befalls my neighborhood.

In Venice, the Lagoon has clarified.
In China skies are lightening from brown.
Less market density, new methods tried,
each city shrinks as people hunker down.
And lately there’s a healing to the earth.
Coyotes gather under flocks of crows,
and thoroughfares are empty to the bay.
Of parties and assemblies we’ve a dearth,
and where contagion leads nobody knows,
except we’ll see tomorrow, come what may.

Comparatively quiet now, without
the backup beeps, or students’ raucous yells,
I see pedestrians but hear no shout
or words in anger. Now no driver tells
another how to park or merge. They’re mute
as absence, rare as planes allowed to fly.
The silence is relief; it settles me.
Today the peril’s global and acute,
but chronic future stares us in the eye,
and maybe we can shape our destiny.

Our senses are replenishing, these weeks.
They warn us to develop new techniques.

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