A lament for spring

A lament for spring

My daughter sits in the backyard,
digging through mud,
her clothes stained with dirt and
her face strained with focus.
I reach for my phone and flick it on.
Tap Instagram.
An acquaintance is organizing her Tupperware
to a Spotify playlist she made
just for the quarantine. 

I stand,
stretching out the ache,
and plod to the kitchen
to make pizza dough
from scratch.
Not because I’m a homespun kind of gal
who likes the simpler things in life
but because the grocery store shelves
were empty.

At the table
I tell my child: “do this”
over and over and over,
attempting to unlock the
puzzle of her brain
while an expert watches
digitally, remotely.
I’m both surrogate therapist
and camerawoman.

I figure algebra problems
and diagram sentences
and teach about the wives
of Henry the VIII.
My children argue that
they shouldn’t have to work
at a time like this, while
outside our window
kids flash past on scooters,
yelling, laughing.
Social distance
the least of their concerns.

I should be so thankful
for a return to family dinners
around the table.
I should celebrate
my wide-open calendar,
all this time to just
my children.
But I struggle to catch the silver linings.
Another task
on my to-do list.

This spring isn’t the return to energy
and vitality
I’d hoped for
after a long, bitter winter.

But in the darkness
of the midnight hours
amid the heavy breath
Of spouse
Of child
Of self
I like awake and
realize that the spring
I fear I’ve missed
is here, after all,
pushing its way
through the cracks in the soil
new life
bursting through
the broken places.

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