Abide with Me, March 2020
by Judith Sornberger
Bumped up against and overlapping one another,
it’s hard to tell one painted turtle’s olive-tiled
carapace from another’s. For a moment,
I see only a mound of glaring sunlight
balanced on the log across Marsh Creek.
When they reposition, I can count six
through my binoculars. I know it’s ridiculous
to think they huddle like this from affection—
a family reunited after months half-frozen
and alone, sunk in deep mud.
It’s these pandemic times, I know,
laying a new lens over everything—
times that forbid touch beyond the shell
of home. Passing the occasional other
on this path, I call hello, our distance
an embrace of what we hope for each other.
A choir of peepers joins us, singing Spring.
In tune, unlike the voices of my congregation
during our Zoom worship this morning,
struggling to join each other from the square
cells of our onscreen faces. Abide with Me,
we warbled, wandering from the path of melody
and stumbling back, time after time,
as if our lives depended on this closeness.
From POETS RESPOND TO THE PANDEMIC