The Blessings of Liberty

by Seth Rosenbloom

We sit
in lawn chairs
at a safe distance

cicada’s siren in the heat

while visiting your 82-year old mother
who wears a sunflower
face mask fashioned

after the van Gogh that hangs

in Philadelphia. In the museum
with the steps Stallone made famous.
Now nearby, tents occupy the lawn framing

the Ben Franklin parkway.

The daily skirmishes
the discharged canisters, the encampments,
have all trampled the grass—yellow.

A yellow that van Gogh would know, like the kind he laid on thick

impasto
before turning
the revolver to his chest.

After our backyard visit, we drive too fast on the Turnpike.

The message board entreats us
CALL 511
FOR QUARANTINE STATUS.

A pleated surgical mask wads on the floor mat.

By nightfall
we retreat
across the Delaware

to Pennsylvania, a battleground state.

Coming down the ramp, a pickup truck guns it
swerving at a man with a cardboard sign
who begs

from the mouth of brotherly love.

We swallow any whiff
of stillness, careening
across this city

a grid between two rivers.

Rushing past
the museum steps
aglow

from the street lamp’s yellow.

The makeshift tents
row after
row

then, the reassuring shutter.

The metallic
call and response
of the power lock doors.

 

Seth Rosenbloom has written and acted in solo performances, mediated child custody disputes and built a management consulting practice. His poetry will appear in a forthcoming issue of The Main Street Rag. Seth lives in Seattle with his wife and son.

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