In Praise of Stay-At-Home

Carl "Papa" Palmer

Our days used to begin in a frantic rush
led by Mom herding everyone to wake up,
wash up, eat up and hurry up out the door.

Everyone except me, I never got to go.
My days were spent alone in the house
waiting for everyone to come back home.

I’d make my rounds, look under beds,
check the bathrooms and kitchen then
nap on the couch for the rest of my day.

I live with Mom, Dad, Sissy and Bubba
on a street full of families and their pets.
Our pet is me, a boxer. I answer to Bob.

I don’t know why or what happened, but
everybody stayed home one day, all day
and every day since. I am one lucky dog!

I get more walks, more bowwows with my
buddies and their masked masters, though
not close enough for our usual social sniff.

More snacks, more playing, more petting,
more snuggling, best is not being alone,
but I do miss my long naps on the couch.

The Guilded Shelter

Christine Lamb White

Vancouver, WA

Home structured in place
words from books with golden leaves
coverage of stories bless me
singly sitting in my cabin of flight
where I land, many galaxies at night
coverage of imagination blesses me
gardens of tenderness
green shoots with compost, the everlasting church of the garden
coverage of fresh growth blesses me
red flannel bedding cleanly washed
a glorious featherbed waiting to hold my body
coverage of nighttime dreams bless me
I am the boat in the water of my bathtub
a temple of sea-salts soaking
coverage of wellness blesses me
cooking in the kitchen
transformation served up on plates
coverage of nourishment blesses me
the gilded shelter unlocked
paying attention to my soul
coverage of “its nice to meet me,” blesses me.

Image accompanying The Guilded Shelter
Image accompanying Empty Chairs<br>
  	  	 	 	  	 <i>~ for Kessler 04/02/2020</i>
Empty Chairs
           ~ for Kessler 04/02/2020

Patrick Dixon

Olympia, WA

sit vacant in the gray
light of morning,
reminders of where
we sat yesterday,
our first visit in months.

This virus, armed with wedges
places an ironic twist on the adage
Divided We Fall.
Now it’s Divided We Live,
so, no hugs

when we spotted you
on the street, despite
desire so strong it hurt.
Instead, laughs, tears
and the feeling I sit with

today, writing this poem:
a knowing that if we don’t survive,
instead become statistics,
that you loved us
as deeply as we loved you;

that these chairs outside,
weathering spring sun, rain and hail
are not vacant at all– despite
all appearances, they cradle
invisible treasures

of cherished lives.