Look out! A warning
for a child crossing the street,
or a lamp falling over.
But I look out the window
on a gray morning
at a pair of crabapple trees,
their dead twigs intertwined
with the living, their clustered
berries starting to appear,
blushing like the few drought
lingered leaves sighing with green
against a dun sky.
Rustling in this breathless dawn
are the ghosts of old handshakes,
the remembered intimacies,
friends sipping wine or coffee,
the idle pleasures of the cinema,
the arms of our adolescent children
wound together in corridors
lined with lockers and embraces.
I remember lookouts where,
for a quarter in the slot of a meter,
we kids could see Niagara Falls.
Space and time opened up.
Future became past. Now we peer
into the dark maw of contagion.
What will the history books say
of plague, human loss, the heat
of summer, autumn’s anxiety,
winter’s claustrophobia, the deaths
of those who thought it only make-believe?