In Praise of Home School 

I see my neighbor through the aspen tree.
Usually in suit & heels at a desk downtown 
now she’s home in baggy sweats, intent 
on deconstructing a pile of delivery boxes 
creating a cardboard idol to order.

On a walk, a grey brush rabbit
sits half-in, half-out of a hedge. 
His nose pulsates; mine feels 
red & hot under a makeshift mask.
I give him social distance, as he
waits for what might happen next.  

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This stretch of isolation conjures
images from childhood, when time
was a pleasure to kill – swaying
in a hammock of faded quilts, absorbed
in the lackadaisical dance of clouds 
casements of mind open wide. 

Some say shelter-at-home is a wasteland
of boredom bathed in cathode rays 
of ruminating on things long hid – 
slackened bonds of coupledom
slender reeds of habit
how family depletes us. 

I say – we are being home schooled.
The world has been too fast
too loud too much for too long.
We are blinking, peering at the
frightened eyes of the front-line
the carnage of the microscopic 
the myth of endless progress.

Praise the lesson: earth is not ours
we are not master of anything. 

Anna Dunlap is a poet, community volunteer, and executive coach living in Denver.