Quarantine Visit

There’s an old woman on the porch. There’s an old woman in R.L. Dogg’s head.
……..Also.
She turns up—torn dress, clodhoppers, smell o’ rum, late afternoon and wants
…………………………..Money!
She’d also like a bit o’ food, being that she has none. Or says so.
I’ve never seen her, Liz either: we been cooped up, Dogg in Quarantine,
…………………………..And all that.
…………………………..R.L. Dogg, Poet.
…………………………..He’s got rants in his pants!
So we don’t really know what’s up on the outside—food lines, gas lines, social
…………………..Rebellion—death by tedium,
She wants money (Broke, the crone croaks);
…………….She wants food (Starved she squawks);
And Liz and I look over at our Buddha—rare wood, sprayed gold, sitting
…………….Serene on the kitchen counter (marble counter),
There’s a gold flame rising from his head—wisdom, wakefulness.
…………….Gautama looks on.
She’s hungry (in my head); she’s broke (in my head); and is she coming
…………….Some actual day, actual soon?
…………….For money, for food?
The Buddha, compassionate one, so beautiful,
Brought back all the way from Malaysia,
A decoration, beautiful diversion,
Looks at us now, waiting to see what comes next.

Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia and the author of Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching.His book on Walt Whitman is forthcoming from Harvard in April.
Mark Edmundson

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Author: Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson is University Professor at the University of Virginia and the author of Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals and The Heart of the Humanities: Reading, Writing, Teaching. His book on Walt Whitman is forthcoming from Harvard in April.