Social Distance and Two Other Poems

Eileen Cleary

Social Distance
Like the car-heavy bison on the ruined road
in Chernobyl’s exclusion zone, she keeps her home
here. A raven stretches its wings atop a crucifix in spring
as Maria farms her atomic land. Armored bugs threaten
her crops. Why must they interrupt? She two-steps
as the film crew packs its gear, then leaves her
to name weeds as weeds and eggs as tiny planets.
Dear Meadow, I’m Sorry
For Buttercups as bright as coyote’s eyes
picked to predict proclivity for butter,
hundreds more of their sun-soaked
bodies swallowed by Elsie for creamier milk.
For How-to- Kill the Wilds guides
bought to save myself a cough while
Monarchs write their epigraphs in milkweed.
For a clover-free stalk whose luck has run
out like a footless rabbit. For daisies
forced to the roadside, and cages we build for grazers,
while beef-eating fires singe the Morning Glory.
Calling You Back
for Lucie Brock-Broido
It’s been two years since you took up your season of dying.
The small ceremonies to get on with living hallow
like a flaxen girl who is christened. What to call us?
Person to person. We span the dawn between alive and dead.
Shall we be named each other’s galaxy,
our dust held together by spectral attraction? We reach but cannot reach.
Will you cross to where I wait, to this star where we might again embrace?
Did you know I wish my body to be earth with your body?
Not now, but in time, as indistinguishable as twin Glendalough sheep.
Eileen Cleary is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lily Poetry Review and Lily Poetry Review Books. She holds MFA’s in poetry from Solstice and Lesley University. She published recent work in The Sugar House Review, JAMA, West Texas Literary Review and Solstice: A Magazine for Diverse Voices, among others. Cleary’s full-length poetry collections include Child Ward of the Commonwealth, (Main Street Rag, 2019) and 2 A. M. with Keats (Nixes Mate, 2020.)