Plague Diary: Visitation

M.A. Schaffner

May 12, 2020

Catbirds we expected early,
but they must have had some warning
even down Mexico way.

A gray fox climbed down from its tree
last night to knock on the door
and ask if I had any work.

I issued a Letter of Marque and Reprisal
for chipmunks, with bonus kibble
for making them shelter in place.

If only they’d offered a bargain —
I’d pay their weight in almonds for a week
to see them dancing in their sumptuous coats.

When the catbirds arrived they stole the bait
from all the traps with which I prayed
for a fruitful garden, till one got caught.

I found it too late to apologize,
but Mr. Fox agreed to take the contract
and save me from the sin of what I am.

M. A. Schaffner lives with spouse and pugs in a house built cheaply 110 years ago in Arlington, Virginia. Their work has recently appeared in The MacGuffin, Illuminations, The Writing Disorder, and the anthology Written in Arlington. Earlier appearances included Poetry Wales, Poetry Ireland, and The Tulane Review. When not avoiding home repairs through poetry, M. A. wades through the archival records of the Second United States Colored Infantry (1863-66) with a view toward compiling a regimental history.

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