Evening Sighs

I am alone.
The room is quiet, except for
The aimless hum of voices
Wandering from the courtyard,
And the haunted scratching of Dogwood branches
Tapping rhythmically against the windowpane,
Trying to touch the stained-glass masterpiece
Illuminated by the soft glow of evening
And the artificial light within.
The sudden rumble of truck traffic
Bellows in the distance –
Workingman on his way home to shave,
Lunch pail smeared with a little mud and grease,
Keys jangling in his pocket.

Windows have been open all day, 
Letting in cool, refreshing air
As the stuffiness flies away
On a train of memories and dreams,
Carried like the smoke of incense
Above a candle flame.
The distant, dying whistle says it all –
So much energy spent,
So much time, dedication, and effort
Spent thinking and researching,
Logging and reporting,
Being reliable –
And still alone.

The sky is clear –
No tumbling clouds massing in the night
Like pale ghosts,
Heavy laden with hunger and tears
And desolation.
A casual glance outside reveals starlight
And a masked eruption of the moss phlox moon.
As I watch the shifting patterns,
I wonder at the sensations
That come from without and within,
Filling me,
Disorienting me,
Entangling me,
Comforting me.

Our natural satellite is a loyal companion;
She understands what it means to be human.
In this strange and slippery space-time reality,
I confront my deepest fears, predispositions, and sensibilities:
They slosh around like the oceans
In the tidal tugging of the moon –
Back and forth, going nowhere.
I take in a deep breath
And let out a sigh;
I take in another breath,
And breathe out another sigh,
I am doing my best not to be overwhelmed. 

I hear a lone coyote's voice in the distance
And see old faces in the candle glow,
Reminding me to be playful and curious.
I miss time spent with trees and horses,
Wildflowers, rivers, and forests,
Rocks, roots, earth, and rain.
I like to think we are not really separated
And nothing will collapse. 

Over the murmur of the refrigerator,
And the inconsistent click, click
Of my pen tracking words on paper,
I hear the gentle, contented sighs of Dixie
Curled up by my side,
Reminding me that she is here and she is love.
I sit in the soft light
And try not to rub my eyes.

Composed on April 11-12, 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic – after four weeks of adhering to social/physical distancing guidelines to “stay home; save lives;” teleworking from home 7 days a week for 10 to 12 hours per day; and adapting to new hygiene habits to frequently wash my hands and not touch my face. I am grateful to have the companionship of my dog Dixie.