Diane Rachele, poet and writer, is a longtime resident of Hampshire County in western Massachusetts. She’s a member of Straw Dog Writers Guild (SDWG) and the Florence Poets Society with recent work published in SDWG’s Compass Roads, edited by Jane Yolen, and in Silkworm 11 and Silkworm 12, Annual Reviews.
It was always a matter of life or death.
That you put your best foot forward.
Now, it really is. As my mother would say,
“Put your thinking cap on.”
A matter of life and death.
It may wear a mask,
elude disinfectant wipes,
or stand safely on the shore
of a river of missing hand sanitizer.
It is invisible
yet, a matter of life and death.
It taunts from six feet away,
threatening six feet under.
There is something wrong in it,
Something hidden, a Distraction.
Instinct screams out from every cell.
Something is off,
the hand of man is in it.
The reins are Fear,
and saddles Heavy, beneath the
Horsemen of Apocalypse.
Behind the curtain schemes fester.
Conspiracy theories abound.
Everyone is essential or confined.
The playing field is cleared.
Wild animals come in for a look.
Nature licks herself clean, begins
the healing process without
the interference of humankind.
And while the manmade, superimposed grid
laid over and upon the natural world, is Empty,
are new sinister things being installed?
Are eroding human rights and freedoms lost forever?
Meanwhile, from the stage and behind theatre drapes
the majority are held at bay, controlled, and sheltered
with enough GMO popcorn and sugary pop
to keep us occupied, stupefied, oblivious.
Herein the doorway is open for political opportunists,
and exploiters of every shade and kind.
I don’t blame the gods, the One, or the many.
I blame those mostly men, and a few women
behind closed doors who have never
had the best interest of the natural world
nor that of all mankind—at heart.
It’s always been a matter of life and death.
Whether it’s the bigger picture
or something as small and white
as a lie.