Moderator

It’s possible my grandparents were right when they said

everything in moderation, a sweetness that came

like a godly voice from out of nowhere reminding me

I’d be loved, no matter what. I wonder then, applied

to the current pandemic, could all this contentious talk of

masking and not masking be baselined to the more neutral

idea that we’re all just protecting our own, like birds

protecting their nests? Can political bifurcation be dissolved

into the teddy bear sentiment that we all just want to ensure

fairness occurs, gets, not thrown out to each of us

like Skittles at a parade, but placed carefully in each of our hands

like a wafer at Church? During these long, dark nights,

maybe all we really want is to finish the game,

call it a night, wave and say see you tomorrow,

or at the very least pull out another one to play, perhaps

a newer, adultier version of the same one, where we can stay,

and why not, a little while longer. Then we can leave the party

knowing everybody wants a good life, however each defines

good. Being bigger than our personal brand of justice

sounds reasonable, sounds palatable, humane enough.

But this morning I’m drunk on news, and will be lucky

if I make it to a book of poetry tonight. Something in

the air has changed and has me looking for the walls,

has me looking for a nurse. These days I wake up

and stare into the bathroom mirror for longer than I want to,

until I feel certain that I’m me. It takes longer than I’d like

for me to stop vibrating from all the explosions

of each so-called good day, and positioning myself for an easy

retreat to higher, more solid ground remains on the

agenda for the foreseeable future. What’s there not to get?

Everybody knows no one likes a buzz kill and almost

everything sensitive comes down to a matter of taste anyway.

Which reminds me, another song on my grandparent’s

broken record was one man’s cure is another

man’s poison, a line of thought to have been

originally created by the poet Lucretius – I looked it up

on Google – who actually originally employed the word

meat instead of cure, the later version I think

implying something about the idea of preventing death,

whereas the original poet’s version seems to be saying

something about basic, ordinary nourishment and

how it’s natural for sentient beings to want to destroy one

another in order to secure it, a notion my grandparents might

have called staying true to nature.

Author: Chris Russell

Chris Russell holds an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives in Concord, New Hampshire where he follows two paths: a calling as a poet, and an altruistic vocation as an education support professional.