Every face shrouded from tired eyes to bare throat,
every mask a grave robber’s bag for death,
our baskets fill with food we later fear to eat.
My husband, shy man, waves at our neighbors now.
He counts them and smiles at their yapping dogs.
He mourns with those who don’t wave back, saddened.
Each morning I drive our dog to a nearby field.
He runs like a shadowy specter, sunlight
a glint in his eyes, his tongue a flag in the breeze.
I see a coyote spring from the woods, leap
through the fence to newly plowed ground. A young doe
watches my dog from the gate, then walks into shade.
Now I praise the distance they keep, the wisdom
beneath how we mask, how we turn from strangers
who carry milk, a loaf of bread and maybe more.
Marcia L. Hurlow‘s first full-length collection of poetry, Anomie, won the Edges Prize. She also has five chapbooks. More than 300 of her individual poems have appeared in literary magazines, including Poetry, Chicago Review, River Styx, Nimrod, Poetry Northwest, Stand, Cold Mountain, Zone 3 and The Journal, among others. Last year she received the Al Smith Fellowship for Poetry for the second time.