Tuesday in Richland
by Jim Thielman

On this clear August day I hear birdsong as
swallows dive for insects near the river.
Looking down, from my third-floor condo
I see a flower garden, my neighborís hobby.
On my deck, herbs and Thai basil that
sprouts small blossoms of purple and white.
The sun begins to glare, on its way to 100
and no wind blows to offer some relief.
A few early risers walk the path wearing masks.
Not enough trees here to shade a long walk.

Are we like the canary in a coalmine?
A virus has confounded a rich country,
exposing poverty we didnít see.
Leaders in denial, canít make a difference,
and a virus takes us by the thousands.
I sponge breakfast off my yellow shirt,
sip tea and hope for a vaccine.

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