Poetry Drawer: After a Hard Rain: Where They Have To Let You In: Year of Covid by Robert Demaree

After a Hard Rain

We do not have a rain gauge.
You can look it up on the Internet
If it matters.
Or you can
See how the dock sits in the water.
The pond is up two inches, I would say,
Maybe three.
We have one of the last wooden docks on
On the east shore,
The top still slick after the storm,
Maybe a little spongy in places
(Barry will give us a quote)
But it will dry.

Caroline and the kids
Will come down in a while
This kind, warm afternoon,
Float in innertubes, read magazines,
And joke of things known to them,
Their sense of family palpable
This kind, warm afternoon.
They are leaving in the morning
And the dock will revert
To its customary solitude.
Now and then Martha and I
Will gingerly ease 80-year-old bodies
Into cooler August waters.

Where They Have To Let You In

Across our New Hampshire pond
The pink and purple
Of dawn and dusk
On brisk September days.
Someone asks if I grew up here.
For years we were summer people
Except my father worked.
Skipping pebbles on the inlet
By the rented cottage,
Clearing the land for our own place,
Steamy summer jobs at the laundry.
Watching children then grandchildren
Take a first plunge
Off the dock.
Since retirement I think of us as
Three-season residents,
Crisp blue mornings, September into
October, foliage trips
To the Third Connecticut Lake.
Shorts and sweatshirt weather,
A day to get apples.
People ask if I grew up here.
I have started saying yes.

Year of Covid

Almost a year
Since that last public gathering,
The women’s basketball tournament
At the college near Golden Pines.
I have a picture in my camera, my phone,
Girls in teal shorts
Bringing the ball up court,
Captured in time.
Their season will end in 20 minutes.
The losers know this already,
But the winners don’t, their hopefulness
Captured in time,
In my camera, my phone.

In the months since
We have learned how to work
The drive-up app
On our phone.
We get groceries early on Sundays,
We take classes on Zoom
That we would skip
In person.
Out walking, I cross the street
To avoid people without masks,
Valuing some things more
Than neighborly companionship.
For that we have each other,
Susan and I. It wears well,
As one would hope it might
After 57 years.

In my camera they have not moved,
The girls in the teal shorts,
The other team, the pep band,
The handful of people, probably parents,
Who have driven up for the game,
Captured in time, their looks of
Hope and expectation,
Those girls from Pompeii
In teal basketball shorts,
Bringing the ball up court.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders published in 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems have received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club. He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Bob’s poems have appeared in over 150 periodicals including Cold Mountain Review and Louisville Review.

You can find more of Bob’s poems here on Ink Pantry.

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