Circling the Drain

Standard

Don’t forget to turn off the light
in every empty office building
and factory

Those chickens can’t pluck themselves
so let them be cage free

They can live off all the milk
being dumped down
farm drains
as people queue up
for a single box of food
in the lines of cars
wrapped around the cities
like ribbon

At least there is plenty of room
for kangaroos
on sidewalks
but they can’t help
the shuttered economy
as they only window shop
despite their deep pocket

Who is feeding the young man
wrapped in a sleeping bag
who waited for me
all those weekday mornings
on the steps outside the coffee shop

I think of his face
gaunt but smiling
his please
and sincere thank you
as I’d hand him breakfast
and walk to my office
fighting the urge
to bring him with me

My house has empty rooms
that should be filled
I am pouring milk down the drain
believing it is the most
reasonable option


Julie Ayers

Learning to Sleep, Again

Standard

How can it be time
to charge my keyboard again?
I only need to do that monthly,
or less.
Has that much time passed
as I’ve sat quietly
and relearned
sleeping?
The freezer’s fullness
has risen and ebbed
while I unearthed recipes
and reverted to
home cooking.
We used to sit and search
the Sears & Roebuck’s catalogue
for things unavailable
at local stores.
Now, as I make masks from fabric
left at my door in boxes,
I’ve discovered
I know how to use
the sewing machine
stored in my basement
for decades.
All the new things
I’d been pushing myself
to learn
have been set aside
as I revisit
the old
I mistakenly believed
I’d mastered.
Sleep. Hunt. Gather. Eat. Clean.
A change in medium,
but an elemental thrum.


Julie Ayers

Comfort Desert

Standard

My comfort tastes bitter
even as I sip tea and read
and answer my daughter’s
“What’s for dinner question?”
for the 100th time today.
Our freezer is stocked well
and that causes
as much unease as ease.
Someone else’s hunger
gnaws at my contentment
as I reply, “Spaghetti.”
I don’t question
the wisdom
of the stay-at-home order,
but am sickened
by all the cupboards empty
as our promises
of equality and justice.

Julie Ayers

Piece of Shit

Standard

To the piece of shit
who killed my friend’s daughter
while professing his love for her
may you not only be tormented
by regret over your actions
but endure feverish anguish
as you sit in your jail cell
while she is mourned
in a world that has reached
the apex of pain


Julie Ayers
NaPoWriMo Day 10

Disconnect

Standard

Texts flew
and power flickered
as a fierce wind blew
on the bright day
that a mother and son
were lost and drown

Cocktails were mixed
and joyfully consumed
during a Zoom happy hour
while a woman
was murdered
by her boyfriend

The coffee perked
as we ate our cereal
in our pajamas
while a mass grave
was dug in the center
of New York City

Sanity and reason
are strained
as we all try our best
to emerge intact
mentally and physically
from the hell wrought
by Covid-19


Julie Ayers