Quarantine by Kate Sontag

See how the orchids
on the windowsills
upstairs and down


wait studded with buds
all on the verge of opening
at once like the myth of women


whose periods synchronize
in the same house. What
fine tuning the reliable moon


orchestrates from its great
social distance above us.
The sun, and the ice cubes


we feed each little clay pot
filled with bark chips, pitch in.
There may be hope for us yet.


In this no-time when timing
is everything—whose hand
we take, which apple or pear


we pick from the picked over
bin, whose air we come closest
to sharing—what else can we do


but count our lucky leaves
and blossoms that so far
we still have our sense of taste


and smell, our freezer is full,
can laugh at one another’s
jokes and remain ready


for change. Marvel how
in our bedroom as weeks
pass, white and purple-


throated petals keep
coming, cling to their
columns, spike tall


in isolate beauty and random
choreography, maintain
their remarkable positions.

Kate Sontag is co-editor of After Confession: Poetry As Autobiography (Graywolf). Recent or forthcoming publications include Comstock Review (2nd Prize 2019 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest), Crab Orchard Review, One, Raintown Review, Verse Virtual, and The Strategic Poet (Terrapin Books). Retired from Ripon College, she teaches poetry for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the Berkshires.