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ShaunAnne Tangney "For Jacob Who Has Covid"

Scroll down for the text of the poem.

ShaunAnne Tangney has lived in North Dakota for nearly twenty-five years.  She was an English Professor at Minot State University for twenty years where her scholarly work and teaching focused on literature of the US west, sense of place, and critical theory.  She is a scholar, an essayist and a poet whose work has been published in the US, Great Britain, and Australia.  She is currently writing and  producing essays and podcasts for the Good Talk Network and she is Lead Writer and Associate Producer for North Dakota’s own late-night talk show, Good Night Live.


But only mildly,
battling fatigue and the
novocain brain of isolation—

and for Bob who has asthma
cottoning his lungs, and Jess
who carries a city on her back, the
clutching fear of it—

for Amber exhausted
by the flat still sea of days without names—

and Jonah
who stows his worries
on high shelves in
dark closets so his children
will never find them—

for all of us now with
winter closing in and
the radio predicting
again and again
the apocalypse riding in
on four new horses:
Cold Weather and Holidays,
Lassitude and Loneliness—

here are the few small things I can offer:

in December, sailors will report
stars they’ve never seen before;
in January, calves
will push hard to be born,
steaming in thin blue air;
in February, investments
in construction paper and lace
will pay off; in March, water
will become visible again;
and in April,
we will remember
the only prayer we really need:

thank you.

Whisper it now,
in practice for the shouting later.

(November, 2020)

© ShaunAnne Tangney, 2020

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