A pic­ture of a wheat­paste by street artist MissMe, in Mon­tréals Mile End neigh­bor­hood, of Leonard Cohen

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

any­thing lapsed

can be revived


Dis­tant friendships

for­got­ten arpeggios

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.

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.