Quarantine, Day 139

Beth Marzoni

Mostly something screaming in the trees. Cicadas I guess, & I guess singing the more accurate term — for the frogs, too, crickets, the dog days’ cacophony I’m trying to listen through or beneath for the horn player a block east I sometimes walk just to catch wind of, though even that’s become rote as any other domestic nothing I fold & stack into something resembling a day. His scales, my steps: all of it measured against the body, the bodies the true undersong we’re maybe both humming. Mostly, before, I walked to think, my body the way to move my mind out of its worried groove & turn the phrase. Mostly, tonight, the same uneven ground & lights out but for the small pack of men huddled loosely around Anthony Rizzo’s baby face larger than life on the TV mounted in the garage. Mostly, it feels out of proportion: the screen, the cicadas, the joy these men poorly disguise for the return of a game of limited gestures that yield dizzying possibilities. Mostly, I’m trying to remember when there was joy in chance. Mostly, I’m trying to do impossible math. Mostly, my feelings keep getting in the way. Or my conscience. Mostly, I take it back, or don’t say it in the first place. Mostly, I’d rather sleep, but come morning I’ll follow the script, open the screen, survey what damages, & report to the world of the mostly living, all of us lined up in our little grid of not-faces not quite listening. Mostly, I think, we are elsewhere, somewhere deep in the not-said. I don’t ask the men the score. My horn player’s quiet tonight. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think nothing of it — late summer gone still, mostly gone.

Beth Marzoniā€™s poems have recently appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, New Ohio Review, and Midwest Gothic. She is the co-author, with Monica Berlin, of No Shape Bends the River So Long (Parlor Press, 2015) and lives in Galesburg, Illinois, where she teaches at Knox College.