One house and this rhythm of ritual:
6:00 am, 8:00 am, 4:00 pm—our laptops open
in the kitchen, the living room, a bedroom,
Hellos at the refrigerator, while ascending/
descending the stairs, the constant tap of keys
the background of faraway horses we’re all riding—
professor/parents, one-day professor/son—
across this long expanse of knowledge where we’re
kicking up dust someone goes out for a walk;
someone returns on our way to a strange horizon
we hope is sunrise. Good morning.
Good afternoon. Good night. And we gather
for whatever’s unfrozen or freshly baked,
and we watch what makes us laugh or tear up
or say Proud of you. Love you. Thank you.
And one stays up all night writing essays.
And two wake up early grading essays.
And everywhere there is typing and Zoom.
And on the morning and the evening
of the forty-second day, there is much darkness,
but also light. And it was good.
It was still good.
During Stay-at-Home Orders, Our Son Cuts My Husband’s Hair
The division of before/after
begins again: indoor/outdoor,
the backyard wild with weeds,
the hum of clippers angling along
the overgrown lawn of my husband’s scalp.
Our child/adult, too young to remember 9/11,
refuses fear, keeps his eye and hand steady.
Gray locks float happily down,
settle on a patio that has no memory
of before and why. Now, the student/
turned barber adjusts the razor, circles an ear,
without hesitation, steers confidently
to mitigate the proliferation of beard.
Under the sharp blade of the vibrator,
my husband relaxes,
calmly exposes his neck.
Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry—including Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation and Local News from Someplace Else—the story collection What She Was Saying; 4 children’s/YA books—including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Readiing Poems with Insider Exercises & I’m Feeling Blue, Too!—Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania; Presence (assistant editor). www.marjoriemaddox.com