OUT OF AN ABUNDANCE OF CAUTION
we descend the porch steps
and walk six feet apart, looking down at our shoes.
The contagion has made us strangers to each other,
has made review of puddles a necessity.
My friend wears black baby-dolls, thick soled and
sturdy, her socks are turquoise – turquoise mouths
smiling out through baby-doll faces. I wear new
runners, black and silver, now meant only
to flirt with running.
Before we’ve made much
progress, at the fence near the end of her driveway,
just behind what I remember from last summer as
a stand of oak-leaved hydrangeas bobbing freely in the sun,
my friend points to the glistening mud, to the mini-
forest stranded there.
She calls them snow-drops,
first flowers of spring, as if we will not forever be
stuck between two seasons. They are little soldiers
in dull hats, burdened beyond their years and
huddled above the snow-soaked earth. They are
a children’s choir, heads bowed, filling the cafeteria
stage, studying for one last moment
their best shoes.
Then they lift their sweet chins
to sing, surprising the ladies in their puffy coats.
Ladies who look a bit like snow-drops themselves,
one of them naming the beauty for the other.
—from Poets Respond
March 29, 2020
Luci Huhn: “During the uptick of the coronavirus this past week, we heard many phrases over and over again, among them ‘Out of an abundance of caution.’ It rattled around and around in my head, until one day, coming home from a socially distanced walk with a friend, where we spent a few moments focused on the possible start of spring before returning to the all-consuming talk of the pandemic, I wrote the phrase down as a title on a blank sheet of paper, as something I felt I urgently needed to address, and began this poem.”