Poems during the pandemic

For George Floyd

George Floyd, I was with you when the cop thrust his knee into your neck.

I was with you when you cried out for your Mother.

I was with you when the three other officers stood by doing nothing.

I was with you when you died.

America what have we become?

What are we?

While back in the White House the bleached blond was watching television.

Pat Lipsky, June 3, 2020

Nana, Papa

Nana and Papa
how could you let me
down like that? I who was
your granddaughter
    your only one.

And then you
both just deserted
me—in the course
of two years we went
from something to nothing—
    over, done, gone.

No more dutch painting
        reproductions—
No more candles, soup
& chicken on Friday—
    gone, over, done.

Both of you
One from death & one from
life
Not only did Papa disappear
he married someone else—
and had a child—
who replaced me—
no longer a granddaughter
    Nothing
Competing with the son he finally
had & the novel wife
    who was I?

And Nana into the earth
first we were digging little
seeds in the earth &
then you went into the
earth in just one month’s
time.

They said you’d
gone to Florida but even
at six I knew they were lying.

How well it had started
you both survived the Spanish
flu
and went on to marry
I still have the announcement card
one hundred years later.
It states your marriage on March
13, 1919.
You would settle on Penn Street
in Brooklyn—

Not cowed by
the pandemic in New York
and all the lives lost
you went on to brightly marry
less than a year later.

But it didn’t end well.
Almost a divorce
through death
& then an abandonment of me,
the collapse of your small family.

Pat Lipsky, April 4, 2020

The Tree.

Today for the first time

my tree has a tinge of orange.

We’ve been through months together.

All summer I watched her light-touching-green

in a sort of pine cone shape.

Not like the others—smaller and more discreet

my only nature during the endless virus.

Actually she was part of a strip I saw

from my window.

Over to the right and alone

the only one.

Now she is changing to fall colors

Does she even know who I am?

Pat Lipsky, October 8, 2020