Bluebells in the Time of Coronavirus

We cut a path through bluebells powdering
The woods, and as you bent to put a hand
Down to a white variety, you called to me,
Stopped on the wooden bridge
Whose guardrail had rotted and fallen
Into the runoff creek full with last night’s rain.

You looked as if the flower caught
You by surprise and changed
The way you lived. When finally
Crossing the path that took us back,
Farther up that mowed and trampled earth,
You called again, this time looking up from

A barn red trillium at what you thought
A heron, I an eagle, my vision no less
Or more than yours because it isn’t
Names or who identifies what flies
Beyond our knowing that make one
Any more safe or fortunate. Once wings

Were lost beyond the reach of branches shamrock
Starred, we moseyed on, past the white boxed
Piled hives, beeless for years, why they didn’t take
To petal euphoria who knows, too cold, too hot,
Or sometimes just the lay of the land is wrong.
Grounded in banter about our son and daughter,

Living now in the spring of their age, to us
Uniquely hued, like that rare afternoon
Through which we strolled toward home,
We heard what sounded like honeybees
Swarming above the broken hives, searching
For somewhere to land, for something to draw on


Poem by Richard Holinger

Richard Holinger has published two chapbooks of innovative flash fictions, including the 2012 Split Oak Press winner of the Flash Fiction Contest, along with receiving three Pushcart Prizes, a Best of the Net nomination, and a “Notable” recognition in Best American Essays 2018. His poetry has appeared in Boulevard, Chelsea, Southern Poetry Review; fiction in Witness, The Iowa Review, Other Voices. He lives an hour west of Chicago. His book of poetry, North of Crivitz, Aldrich Press of Kelsay Books, and a collection of his newspaper columns, Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences, are both due to be released mid-summer, 2020.