Call the Question

(probably poem-prose)


I’d like the Earth

To like us

I’d like to like us, too

Too much is hard

Around the world

Nature’s parts

The parts we’ve made

And otherwise have taken


I’m still dealing with

Burnt bread

The smell

I didn’t know the microwave

Could burn bread so well

The toaster, yes

Live and learn


That was a mistake

There are things more attributable

To will

Now I’m asking all of us

To think what we have done

And, more importantly, what we

Now might do


Family is trite to say of Earth

Or even us

But community is


The recluse doesn’t

Own the planet

Nor does the self-styled magnate

The deserts are inhabited

Like the city

Different sorts of crowded beings

Finding home

And feeling it


And if we own, then we

Must own,

Which means accountability

We all have a part in

That who can, who is able


How many pebbles, how many

Ponds and circles overlapping

We could make of

Family—I mean, community

Through the smallest things

Each of us might do



A pandemic,

Who wears a mask?

Who made it?

I have two masks, both made

By friends

Found out my sister and my nephew

Have been making them

And sending them around

Even ones with designer features

For my niece in Colorado

(they’re in North Carolina

I’m in Pennsylvania)

Easy example, anymore

Factories turned ‘round to retool

Templates, provide resources,

Make more

So that front-liners might

Breathe more easily and think about

The great,

Too often grisly

Work, instead


I can’t sew

But I can cheer them on

Who can

Maybe that will be job,


And your job is making sandwiches

Or raising money

Or finding stories,

Seeing that they’re shared

Tired of hearing about the disease?

Well, we’re living it

Too bad

And, sorry, not much of a question

No news there

Except to say (and it’s not news

or shouldn’t be) that

Breaks are good


We can have other things,

Of course, and should

Games and walks and making something


To break the tedium

Or because a lark

Is fine from time to time

as larks are fine to hear

The community needs them all


But being drunk

Or otherwise practicing addiction

Goes down hard

Don’t think of it

There is no excuse

In a viral time

(or any)

Or for hoarding, by the way

Aren’t you sick of it?


Well, hypocrisy is hard as well

I must admit

I have a couple of rolls

Put by

But not a wall-full

Wait, I always have a couple

Of rolls put by

Well, I am a mask

For something else, I’m sure

I’m sure


So where are we?

We’re on Earth

Together, and if together

Has a name, it can be outside

Or humanity

And there are things we need

We can make

And do them

There are patterns that many places

In the Earth (and us)

Can teach

We can learn

We have the chance

If only we can share around

The means


We can make

We can mend

How about it?


C L Couch



Photo by Mike Swigunski on Unsplash

Reykjavík, Iceland

Northern Lights outside of Reykjavik.