“COVID Dispatch” by Charlie Brice

2021 Pushcart Prize Nominee

2021 Best of the Net Nominee

I sit in my porch room,
a rainy day in Pittsburgh,
and listen to Khachaturian’s
Gayaneh Ballet. I ignore
the lively playful parts, listen
only for yearning and strife.

I absorb melancholy and think about
sand hill cranes on Walloon Lake.
I miss their prehistoric banter, their legs
dragging behind them in flight like
retracted landing gear, their prayerful
umber glimmer at sunset.

At almost 70, my hands covered
with age spots, having cut my face
with scissors while trimming my
shaggy gray beard this morning, and
feeling in my limbs that one day
I won’t be able to rise unassisted
from a chair, I learn that our COVID
quarantine will last for 36 months.

I think about sand hill cranes.
We all fly south, but into the
winter, not away from it.


Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Sunlight Press, Chiron Review, Plainsongs, I-70 Review, Mudfish 12, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

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