Beverly Burch

Pandemic Spring: The Great Change

        Some applauded it, convinced fear
would do the trick, take us back
        to what once kept us alive, nursed
the heart and bone of us. Revelation
        without words, since we roll over
others’ words. In disaster is the only hope,
        they said, ignoring how fear
makes devils of us. Closes our eyes
        to what binds us together.
It prefers armies. Look how far
        fear’s disciples have gone, more lost
than the rest of us.
        It’s a blaze in the spine, an all night
vigil on catastrophe, a master who plots
        to take you down.
We’re frail after all. Fear of this world
        grips us—the icy burial of winter,
the blister of sun. Storms buckle acres
        of pineland and blow great houses apart
What are we doing on this wild planet?
        Our only home, with the sweetness
of common sparrows. I wonder,
        does the earth still want us?
Calamity sings down the angels only when
        its holy quota of fear holds tight.

Beverly Burch’s third poetry collection, Latter Days of Eve won the John Ciardi Poetry Prize. Other work has won the Lambda Literary Award, the Gival Poetry Prize and been a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award. Poetry and fiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, The Cortland Review, New England Review, Catamaran, Willow Springs, Salamander, Tinderbox, Barrow Street, and Poetry Northwest among other places, including Mudlark: Poster No. 138 (2016), Wordless, an essay, and Flash No. 118 (2017), poems. She is a psychotherapist in Berkeley. You can find out more about her life and work at:

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