This Fog Won’t Last

A collection of virus-time poems by Lawrence “Mack in Texas” Hall

Keep a Sharp Lookout – This Fog Won’t Last
My country was made for noble hearts such as yours.
-Aslan in Voyage of the Dawn Treader

When we can’t turn outward, we turn inward
That might not be such a good thing, you know
We are probably out-of-practice, busied
With meetings and work and coffee-shop dates

For now our lives are solitude and screens
Pajama feet and emptiness, and if
We call someone, who is it who answers us?
“Be still, and know that I am Internet?”

Oh, no. The night is misty indeed, but the stars –
The stars still shine; be brave, and look for them

First Communion in the Virus-Time
For Veronica
True Ikon of the Lord

A little girl’s mantilla is a crown
A crown an empress might covet for herself
Wore she not her own First Communion mantilla
Forever within the recesses of her heart

A little girl’s white cotton dress is a robe
A royal robe of courtly majesty,
Worn in the presence of her Lord and King

A little girl on First Communion day
Awes even the angels in her imperium

They are Disinfecting Venice

I have been trying to find out; no one will tell me the truth; they are
disinfecting Venice. Do you know why?

-Death in Venice

We live on islands in the virus-time
Shored in by disease and uncertainty
Waves of uncertainty, rumor, and fear
The deaths of friends bumping against us at night

Delivery trucks are our vaporetti
Ferrying our supplies across the Styx
That separates our then away from now
With imaginings outsourced from

They are burning stimulus checks in the streets
To disinfect us against reality

Useful Things Aboard a Delivery Truck on New Year’s Day

A new clothes-dryer for our little house
“MADE IN AMERICA” – but is it really?
By hand to the hydraulic lift, and down
And by dolly trolley into the laundry

It made its journey with someone’s new washer
A refrigerator, and a cast-iron cooker
Useful things delivered by working men
Wrestling trucks and freight for the common good

When their day’s work is done I hope that they
Can relax

(around a cooker, with a cold one in hand)

and say, “This was a good day.”

Social Distancing is a Gilligan’s Island Re-run

Because the CV has cancelled new shows
And yet another Monday night football game
Life is a Gilligan’s Island re-run
Until for non-payment the service is stopped

For we are all on an island of isolation
Even if the Professor builds us a TV
Of palm leaves, cowrie shells, and Ginger’s pins
While Mary Anne crochets a mask for her navel

Maybe a ship will rescue us today
But will it take us back to where we were?

Teenagers Have Always Worn Masks

I was already wearing a mask anyway
Perfecting that James Bond pose in the mirror
Then wearing his cool edginess into home room
Where no one noticed

Blighted Sepulchers
Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
-Saint Matthew 10:29

One cannot die without permission from the state

A man enters a hospital, and waits
He is dusted off to another, and waits
He is ambulanced to a third, and dies

But he does not have permission from the state

A man cannot be buried without paperwork
There is no paperwork; no one knows what to do
With so many corpses fallen to the ground

One cannot die without permission from the state

No permission is required for refrigeration
No permission is required for a family to grieve
No permission is required to wait for permission

One must not die without permission from the state

But in the beginning, and in the end
At play in the nursery, at work in the fields
In all that follows the generation of a man

God freely grants the joys of eternal life

(In context, “a man” is gender-neutral, and in the event this narrative is about a specific man, Paul Evdosuk, of happy memory. As Marc Anthony says of Caesar, “He was my friend, faithful and just to me.”)

We Are Afraid for Each Other

We do not wear our masks against car keys
Or coffee cups or clocks or coins or books
Nor yet again in fear of paper clips
Or pocketknives or fountain pens or socks

We do not wear our masks against the sun
Or moon or stars or air or trees or flowers
Nor yet again in fear of autumn leaves
Or gentle rain or evening mist or dreams

We wear our masks because we are afraid
Of being humans, of loving each other

Author’s Note: This is NOT a plea for unmasking. The fear is of hurting others. Wear your mask. Wearing a mask protects others. Wearing a mask is love. It’s not about you; it’s about protecting MeeMaw. What someone said that someone said that some doctor said on the InterGossip is irrelevant. Wear your mask. Protect MeeMaw.

New Hiking Shoes for the Trail Ahead
“The road goes ever on and on…”
-J.R.R. Tolkien

While I was looking for something else I found
A pair of hiking shoes still in their box
From a year ago – in anticipation
Of a summer vacation that never was

And there was no holiday again this year
It was all coronavirus and hurricanes
I had forgotten those shoes, but here they are
All ready for some sunlit summer road

While I was looking for something else I found
A pair of hiking shoes, and a bit of hope

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