Photograph by Fabrice Poussin

By Amanda Hope

I’m sure it is a useful thing to practice
in these times, as we say now,
and I will vouch, certainly,
that if there is a way to make the mind
cease its rattling at the bars of the cage,
then I need that remedy. It is hard not to think,
during the relentless rise of daffodils,
that perhaps the ghosts of past ill-tended plants
have finally turned the tables on me,
as I now wither under the constraints
of insufficient space and light, while they,
smug, flourish. And to keep
from getting carried away
by all this paranoid fantasy, I am
supposed to close my eyes, you say,
and focus on my breath,
while we lock ourselves indoors
against a deadly virus which appears first
in the lungs, with shallow breathing
and a bit of cough. It’s not very much
like being rocked by the body’s gentle motion--
more like checking the oven
over and over again, to see if I left it on.