Holding Pattern

We type in our orders 
on the computer, and in less
than two hours a shopper comes 
to leave  groceries on the doorstep.

What a privilege it is to still be able 
to have bread and eggs, bananas, 
salad greens, some kind of meat—
without needing to leave the safety 
of our homes. 

We remember  in the '90s 
how military forces joined a coalition 
at the start of the Gulf War and panic 
rippled into our small city in the hills. 
This is it, neighbors said: WWIII. 

Store shelves emptied 
as people panicked: canned goods,
paper products, oil and sugar and salt.

What a miracle
to find even a small bag of rice, 
a tin of sardines. Sudden wealth 
in a handful of yellow potatoes;
a longer stretch of days.

Even so, we know 
somewhere else not even a grain 
remains, not even a soup bone 
in the larder.  

An endlessness 
has gone by.

Some of us give thanks 
we haven't whittled completely 
down to bone. 

Some of us count our stores.
Some put away the bowls
that others used to eat from
when they were still here 
among us, holding out 
for days that stretched
into more than a year.

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