Author’s Note: “Last March, writing a daily sonnet offered the structure to channel mounting anxiety fed by the news. The goal of five iambic feet per line soon took over any desire to rhyme. During quarantine, many reported having vivid, unsettling dreams. These poems recall dreams of my late father’s visits and the depth of introspection they inspired.”
Days 8 & 9 Visits During Quarantine
I wake to my father two nights. Opened
my eyes, expecting the dog, old and
nearsighted—there staring into my face.
Instead, my father is reading a book
in the chair that I moved to my mother’s
two months ago. Instead of the dog, my
father reads quietly in the dark. We
keep three cases of books we cannot part
with because he rereads each—his essence
permanent between dog-eared pages.
I check the clock—blink. He reads with his face
close to the page—his glasses sliding down
his nose, lenses glinting—catching the thin light—
his pajamas—white stripes on blue cotton.
I speak to my father this night. Opening
my eyes, expecting the dog mooning
over my open-mouthed snore. I say, Dad,
I’ve missed you. He does not put down the book.
He says, Good job with that last one. His voice
returns to me, deep and warm. I puzzle,
Which last one? The book, the job, a public
speech given one week before everything
closed. Poetry submitted, a short story
sent, or patience practiced? What did I do
last night? Shattered another glass? He stares—
pulling back thoughts. I meant to write it down.
His fingers ruffle the pages, Don’t worry
too much. The dog scratches at the shadows.
Joan Drescher Cooper is a writer and teacher from Berlin, Maryland. She published a poetry collection Birds Like Me (Finishing Line Press) in 2019. Her poetry, book reviews, and fiction have appeared in Delmarva Review, River Babble, Doorknobs & Body Paint, Sand Dune Anthology and The Bay to Ocean Anthology. Joan published the Lilac Hill fiction trilogy with Salt Water Media. Website: joandcooper.com.
Delmarva Review publishes the best of new poetry and prose selected from thousands of submissions annually. The literary journal receives partial financial support from a Talbot County Arts Council grant with funds from the Maryland State Arts Council. Readers can purchase copies from Amazon.com and other major online booksellers, and from regional specialty booksellers like Mystery Loves Company, in Oxford. All writers are welcome to submit their best work until March 31, to be considered for the 14th edition. See the website: www.DelmarvaReview.org.