bees ea seguy
My Facebook Feed Tells Me
by Ann E. Wallace

that milkweed and butterflies
are this year’s sourdough bread
and backyard chickens
as the pandemic has turned
our attention from life
that must be kneaded and tended
each day and in earnest,
filling solitary days, one
after the other,
with small tasks
and gratification that is in sight
but does not come quick
or easy. A year in, we take
a breath and make
space for the wild things
that pollinate and multiply
when we step aside
and let them be,
reclaiming once
manicured city slips
of greenery
as the early pandemic
bakers and hen handlers
now relax into gathering seed pods
for next year’s bees and planting
parsley for the swallowtail
caterpillars to munch,
each doing its job without ado
as we learn to withdraw
our heavy hand.

ILLUSTRATION: Bees by Eugene Séguy (1890-1985).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I fell ill with COVID-19 at the very start of the pandemic and am now a long hauler. Sidelined and on bedrest through spring 2020, I became a fascinated observer of my friends’ early pandemic activities—the bread making, the bird watching, the urban vegetable gardening and chicken raising—as reported on their social media feeds. A year later, still recovering, I noticed a shift, an intensification of sorts, in my friends’ activities as they turned to restoring native plants, safeguarding butterfly eggs, and nurturing natural habitats and food sources for birds, devoting their attention to making space within our city for the earth to heal itself. Next summer, I hope to be well enough to join them in this important work.

IMG_5719

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ann E. Wallace, a poet and essayist from Jersey City, New Jersey, is author of the poetry collection Counting by Sevens (Main Street Rag). She has published work in Huffington Post, Wordgathering, Halfway Down the Stairs, Snapdragon, and many other journals. Find her online at AnnWallacePhD.com and on Twitter @annwlace409.