Judith Alexander Brice is a retired Pittsburgh psychiatrist whose love of nature and experiences with illness inform much of her work. She has had over 80 poems published in journals and anthologies, including in The Golden Streetcar, Voxpopulisphere.com, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Magnolia Review.com, and Annals of Internal Medicine. On two occasions, Judy has twice received the Editor’s Choice Award in The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize, sponsored by The Paterson Literary Review. Judy has authored two poetry books: Renditions in a Palette and Overhead From Longing published by WordTech Communications (David Robert Books Imprint). A third book, Imbibe The Air is forthcoming next year by the same publisher. Her poem, Mourning Calls, set to music by Tony Manfredonia, can be heard on his web-site: https://www.manfredoniamusic.com/mourning-calls.
Our Safe Confines—Covid-19
It always amazes me, how many days we forget, especially now in these hours of Covid, when the dim of dawn’s light nudges us awake to remind of the walls, the barriers to our sight— These walls of our shelter tell us to delay, rest awhile, arise and linger— slow— then quickly command us to stay, remain, resist the walk beside that junco on the birch and through the tempting, picket gate to our neighbors just beyond. Downstairs— an empty dining table, chairs for eight collecting dust— this, our domicile, never designed to “keep us safe”— expel a “deadly” virus from our home, nor banish its spread. Despite the walls, the sun sneaks in—flickers wide our eyes. Yet our comforting abode— in which we’ve laughed, rejoiced with children, shared a smile, even tears of friends—has abandoned its heart, left life, its joys, behind.
how it slithers in between muddy door and rusted screen its taut, stretched mesh of black deceit, wherein you see but don’t how it wafts its way through the window shut and locked, you thought, but not how it masquerades and takes its place on flakes of ice to shard your face your back, your swollen hands. Wherein, that one stabbing blast erases reason, obviates all sense of how to dispel pain’s phantom, its cold—that relentless resolute return.
Today— a Rose and Hydrangeas
(To Charlie) Today, at breakfast, I ate fried eggs, buttered toast Stirred my coffee, and gulped sips with clotted cream— All without pain. It seemed like a miracle. After lunch I wandered outside, climbed a couple steps to my yard And trimmed two hydrangeas, a single rose— Still without pain. It seemed like a miracle. This evening I sat by my husband as we ate leftovers for dinner and smiled at our ten-year-old place-settings next to a jar with water, three flowers— We laughed for hours. There was no question.