Judith Brice

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.

Consider Pain

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
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.

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