We No Longer Kill Our Visitors
The millipede scurrying across the basement floor
searching for a dark corner in which to rest.
The spider dangling from the bottom of the bathroom windowsill,
working less enthusiastically as hot steam fills the room.
The stink bug rummaging through an orchid in the bay window,
not putting off any particular smell.
The mouse who found a bit of coffee cake on the kitchen floor,
darting back beneath the oven.
The bird who came in through the sliding door,
flying from room to room before finding exit
through an open window.
The fruit bat spinning rings around each bedroom
before escaping through the attic vent.
These are our COVID guests,
our pandemic partners.
We no longer retreat to the hardware store
in search of ways to trap or kill them.
We invite them in for a visit, a bit of dialogue—
wink of eye, twitch of nose—
and ask them not to be strangers
as they hide from us in the shadows
of our shared home.
Sacrifice for Sleep
“If I could only sleep till 9,”
she moans as she sits up
and falls back into bed,
bent over him like a hibiscus grown too tall.
“Saturday,” he assures.
“You can sleep in on Saturday.”
Saturday is five miles away,
each one filled with a workday,
and when the weekend arrives
the work does not end.
The baby cries,
family stomach growls,
playroom is cluttered,
kitchen’s a mess,
friends call for counseling,
her man longs for her touch.
she substitutes sacrifice
Eric D. Goodman lives and writes in Maryland, where he’s remained sheltered in place during the pandemic and beyond, spending a portion of his hermithood writing poetry. His first book of poetry, Faraway Tables, is coming in spring 2024 from Yorkshire Press. He’s author of Wrecks and Ruins (Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press, 2022) The Color of Jadeite (Apprentice House, 2020), Setting the Family Free (Apprentice House, 2019), Womb: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing, 2017) Tracks: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books, 2011), and Flightless Goose, (Writers Lair Books, 2008). More than a hundred short stories, articles, travel stories, and poems have been published in literary journals, magazines, and periodicals. Learn more about Eric and his writing at www.EricDGoodman.com.
Featured Image: Axel N-Masango, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons