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1. Another Spring
I was kneeling on blanket at
a flea market in Japan
touching the splendor of many
silk kimonos. A pink one with
tributaries of vines winding
on the sleeves, a bright red one
with white cranes flying (the
one I bought) two decades ago
before Corona locked us in
and took away the key.


2. Another Day Covid-wise
Not much happening here.
My daughter and I are on hold
to Wells Fargo. The interlude
music to entertain us is zippy —
it has a rock beat. We jump up
at the same time, my 22 year
old and I, and we dance
wildly, shaking our hips,
pursing our lips, linking arms,
twirling around. When Randy
comes on the line, we almost
thank him, as if he were the DJ.


3. Getting Those “Flashback Blues”
Peanut shells on the floor
of the Fifth Peg Pub
listening to John Prine
whirl out his songs
before anyone except
Chicagoans had heard of him,
looking impossibly young
as he leaned against a pillar
between sets, a woman
telling him, “You’re good —
really good — you should
make an album” and he
nodded, smiling thanks.


4. Last Time for Summer
It’s the end of September —
October’s playing tug of war
with 29 and 30
but it’s going to be warm today.
It may be the last chance I’ll
have to wear summer clothes
to go without a sweater or
jacket, to slip into exercise leggings
and a sleeveless top
to sweat with abandon
to spray bug repellent
to go outside gloveless
hatless, so when my husband
says, Let’s go for a walk
I’m ready.


5. What It’s Come to in the Pandemic
Between the two of us
we figured out how
to change the water filter
in the fridge and how to make
the reset button
reset itself —
feeling no remorse
for chalking this up to
a major accomplishment.


6. Pandemic Unraveling
I’ve been tempted to
pull at that piece of yarn
on your sweater to see
how much trouble
it would actually cause.


7. Reprise
Someday I might take down
the silk kimono
from the wall where I’ve hung it —
wrap it around my body —
fly away with the white cranes
that inhabit its red sky.

Karen Loeb, a professor emerita at UW-Eau Claire, has won awards in both prose and poetry and has been the City of Eau Claire’s Writer in Residence. Follow this link for more by Karen.


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