Empty shelves don’t worry me
when the ghost of Leonard Cohen
waits in the checkout line
Patient as a Zen master
in a beige raincoat & Oxford shoes
a carton of soy milk in his basket
To shelter in place is to stay home
study Dante & bake bread
dust off the tarnished flute
In the time of pandemic
can be revived
a translation of the Inferno
That reaches the lake in your heart
the perilous sea & shuttered cafés
weary doctors with torn face masks
I want to walk with my Virgil
through the carpet of blue flowers
named Lesser Glory of the Snow
But I’m home practicing etudes
on the terrace, far from my man
with his beige raincoat and soy milk
Will I find him again before it’s too late?
No one is spared from uncertainty
The leopard waits on a distant shore.
This piece is a part of the Berru Poetry Series, which supports Jewish poetry and poets on PB Daily. JBC also awards the Berru Poetry Award in memory of Ruth and Bernie Weinflash as a part of the National Jewish Book Awards. Click here to see the 2019 winner of the prize. If you’re interested in participating in the series, please check out the guidelines here.
Amy Gottlieb is the author of the novel The Beautiful Possible, which was a finalist for the Edward Lewis Wallant Award, Harold Ribalow Prize, and a National Jewish Book Award. Her poetry has appeared in On Being, Ilanot Review, One (Jacar Press), SWWIM, Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and elsewhere. She lives in the Bronx.