First Open Window During the Pandemic

In the backyard bell of sound
birdspeak –

stac- ca- to
or plummy round
as looping as childhood’s humble paths –

now swells in the flattened space
when nature quelled the rasp
from mower and jet

hushed the thud
of trucks on potholed streets

silenced the screech and wheeze
of buses no longer un-pleating their doors
like open arms.

I believe the pandemic has given us – and the earth – a double-edged gift of less traffic, less pollution, a slowing down of the degradation of our planet. But, of course, the gift also robs us of our health, our livelihoods, and the sustenance of human contact.

Patrice Boyer Claeys is the author of The Machinery of Grace (2020) and Lovely Daughter of the Shattering (2019). Recent work has appeared in The Inflectionist Review, Zone 3, Glassworks Magazine, and Aeolian Harp Anthology 5. She lives in Chicago with her husband and has two grown daughters. www.patriceboyerclaeys.com

See more of her work in 8.4 and 8.4

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