Does it seem like everyone is dying?
And then you realize what a holy miracle
your grandmother’s one hundredth birthday was.
In those days, we hugged and our flesh rubbed,
we clinked celebratory glasses of sherbet punch, our fingers glancing,
and marveled over what a century of life can mean:
two world wars, the invention of cars, a human on the moon,
plastic and bouffants, cigars,
babies and segregation and Roe v. Wade and the vote,
lipstick and rayon and her camelhair coat.
God, what a mystery, the magic of history,
the fact of our legs in the long grass, the beauty of a body
splayed languidly under a catalpa tree.
So the radio may be off, or you may leave it on.
You see friends from a distance, on the lawn,
wearing bejeweled masks and dropping off surplus zucchini.
And suddenly, maybe it’s the humidity,
the ongoing waves of heat marking total climate calamity
(but we’ll save this for another poem)
and you think to yourself, How Marvelous.
Zucchini, jewels on masks, chickens squawking and prancing,
children the world over leaping through sprinklers like Swan Lake, dancing,
your grandmother, alive forever in her molasses cookie recipe—
cookies you could make right now, come to think of it,
because your neighbour bought extra sugar at Costco,
and she dropped it off right on your doorstep, like a gift,
and when you opened the door
in the deep blue of early morning
you were surprised to find a mason jar under shadows, full of sweet—
just what you needed,
right at your feet.