I am not sure
if swallows have returned to Capistrano
but dolphins have returned to Venice

We walk our back garden
alone together

The weeping cherry
drops white tearlets
onto purple Solomon’s seal
surging up from winter rest

Bolder peonies
in deep red
are already knee high

Daffodils and Lenten roses
nod their greetings
while shy vinca tries to hide
their blue in green skirts

Radishes arise
as we bury potatoes

Bloodroot’s pure white flowers
beneath budding trees
belie its name

Our constructed world slows
as God’s world grows

And dolphins swim past
quiet Venetian streets

Paraphrase of today’s first reading: Dn 3:25, 34-43

She stood up in the emptiness and prayed aloud:

“For your name’s sake, O God, do not deliver us up forever,
or make void your covenant.
Do not take away your mercy from us,
for the sake of Sarah, your beloved,
Rebekah your servant,
Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah
your holy ones,
to whom you promised to multiply their offspring
like the stars of heaven,
or the sand on the shore of the sea.
For we are reduced, O God,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our arrogance.
We have in our day no prince, prophet, or leader,
no burnt offering, sacrifice, oblation, or incense,
no place to gather, to find favor with you.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received in our aloneness,
as though it were burnt offerings of our pride,
or pile upon pile of our greed.
So let our sacrifice be in your presence alone today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
And now, now that we are brought low,
now that we are isolated, each with our own thoughts,
now let us follow you with our whole heart,
let us worship you and pray to you.
Do not let us be put to shame,
but deal with us in your kindness and great mercy.
Deliver us by your loving kindness,
and bring glory to your name, O God.”

My Dog Died

My dog died
just before February leaped,
leaped into a pandemic.

I went to France
just before March crept,
crept into a crisis.

I returned home
just before time slowed,
slowed for everyone.

I sit here now
going nowhere fast,
keeping all distant,

and mourn for a world
that seemed to stop
when my dog died.