Lockdown Song

In the deer and cow,
even turtle and bird,
we recognize ourselves
with faces.

This is grave reason
for faces,
as the spirit of God
moves upon the face
of the waters,
face of the deep;
as God lifts up
his countenance upon us.
Bring us peace,
that divine configuration,
of faces, replicated
the world over
in every animal
ever loved.

So ordinary, so powerful
the story says
that Moses would pass away
once he saw God’s face.

God’s faces,
will you come back?
Come back also,
dear bodies,
crowding close,
friendly sweat
at the dive bar
with the Rolling Stones
cover band, the lady bartender
passing the tip jar between sets,
dancing in her tennis shoes,
her pony tail swinging;
come back, dancing,
as we are unafraid here.

Return to us,
classroom children,
your faces rounded and real,
pinkish tan, brownish black,
your unobscured sweetness,
your shy flickerings.

Return to us, live voices,
freed from stacked boxes,
swimming in digits
on computer screens.

Return to us,
clean scent
of the priest’s linen robe
at Holy Communion,
his face before ours,
as he offers
bread from his fingers.

Let us come back
to love fields of people,
listening to blue grass
in the sun;

Will we remember parks,
unmasked, un-arrowed,
picnic tables, free
of crime scene tape,
lush greens, clear of directives
to separate, red lines slashing
through cartoon people gathered?
Let us recall bark and shadows,
breath and leaves.

Bring back
bookstore café whole afternoon
smells of newsprint and sugar
and coffee, attention playing
between page and room,
third spaces where we met
each other, kindly and at ease.

Return us
to singing together,
sitting near,
getting pitch and rhythm
right — harmonies,
as a mystical floating
third voice sounds
by accident or magic.

Christine E. Black's work has been published in The American Journal of Poetry, New Millennium Writings, Nimrod International, The Virginia Journal of Education, Friends Journal, Sojourners Magazine, English Journal, Amethyst Review, and other publications. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and the Pablo Neruda Prize. Read other articles by Christine E..