Photography © Jennifer Matthews


Pupal Soup
          “In a dark time, the eye begins to see,” Theodore Roethke

Oh Theodore, had you been here
with us these past years—
to sit inside your greenhouse—so many
sad, a dark time said to be surreal—a lie,
but yes, out of the ordinary, nature
has always had its way with us—
eruptions, floods, fire—the cycle comes
round with our raw commercialization,
too many choices. We take without care—
blow off mountain tops, expect oil,
good times, freedom to fly—this rat race
we’ve created—busy ants we destroy
by progress. Slowed down we passed
one birthday, then another in lockdown,
a year in science caught up—created
a vaccine—catered to our whims
to serve us back to normal.

Oh Theodore, had you been here
with us these past years—
the crawl-pace filled with emotion,
quiet nights we caught up on reading,
time to write and stay home. That gift—
the world became a still place.
We moved online—opened up vistas—
Nuance a keen eye beholds. Is it over,
let me lie down one more time—walk
my neighborhood streets—remember
this new pulse—pause, hear my heart beat—
can we go beyond earning power expulsion—
overdrive stress, everyone mad
with survival of the fittest.
Now is the time for reconsideration
before we wield our way forward,
can we see how we’ve changed?

Oh Theodore, had you been here
with us these past years—
to question the good COVID has done
for earth—the many lives lost, this purge
nature’s retribution to equilibrium,
to regain a stake. We are light beings
who must recognize other ways.
We did our part—stopped
a molecular minute—our pace worn
into submission. Our clock reset.
There is a fine point of precision
to expect death—eyes opened to what is most
valuable—the heart knows—the gut-mind
knows, survival of the fittest not a game
but a life changer. We have buzzed
around like lost bees, tired, seeking
a new hive, and our Queen bee.


Julene Tripp Weaver writes and has a psychotherapy practice in Seattle. She worked in AIDS services for twenty-one years. Her third collection, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, and won the Bisexual Poetry Award. She is a Green Witch and enjoys wildcrafting and making her own herbal concoctions.

Poet/Photographer Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.