by Lisa Eve Cheby
Rain in Griffith Park and my last human contact.
I snuck out early from day-one of work-from-home.
I lay my naked body face down under the sheet.
After Marika prepared my body with oils, before I return
to begin shelter at home, the rain and no one but I
walk in Griffith Park. The eucalyptus and longleaf pines are closer
than six feet, their branches brush, alive and fearlessly fragrant.
Five men play golf as cars swish by. My umbrella still proclaims
slogans from last year’s teachers’ strike, where I learned
it is acceptable to walk in the rain
Eight days ago, when we were still pretending
our lives could persist
unaltered, we chose
the air & space
of Descanso Gardens over
a museum. We were already washing
hands more profusely, denying
hugs. We leaned up to smell
the cherry blossom, caressed
the rough skin of trees.
Today to feed my skin
I brush the Norfolk Island Pine
on my balcony I had been craving
slowness, to clear the way for learning
to say no,
time, the only yield
we can never recoup.
The balcony rail steams like mountains warming in daybreak.
The plants drip accumulated dew that dampens the chair & my thighs.
The birds reclaim the mornings like humans their journals.
It has taken 13 days since Grace hugged me,
after the yoga class where I brought my own props,
for me to let gratitude seep in like the rain
carries in a wintery cold waking me from a fevered dream.
How should my body temperature feel on cold nights
under a down blanket?
Now is the crying stage, even for the introverts.
This is not Christmas or a retreat.
Someone is making bacon and I am alone.
Lisa Eve Cheby, a librarian, poet, and daughter of immigrants, holds an MFA from Antioch and an MLIS from SJSU. Her poems and reviews have appeared in various journals and the anthologies including Drawn to Marvel, Coiled Serpent, and Accolades. She was a SAFTA Writer in Residence. Her chapbook, Love Lessons from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Dancing Girl Press) was featured in The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed Series. Jim Baron is the owner, with his wife Liz, of the Dallas-based Blue Mesa Grill restaurants and TNT/Tacos and Tequila. He’s been a surf bum all his life, with his late brother Bob and younger brother Dan. He spends a couple hours every day painting water colors, and happiness for him is being on the beach with Liz, Kate, Zak, Ian, and Lola, the labradoodle, who runs the show.