Elaine Zimmerman

Last Ten Days of August, 2021

The cow is stuck in a tree, wedged between branches.  Washed away in floodwater after Hurricane Ida made landfall. Workers from St. Bernard Parish use chain saws to help her land.

US military board the last departure. The dogs, trained to sniff out bombs in Kabul, are left behind. They’ll likely get new handlers.

The groom’s father does not show up for wedding photos. But his wife gets him onto the dance floor, one special time. A foxtrot. Later, he buys two guns; refuses to get immunized.

The youth counselor stores supplies and food in his basement. Sleeps there, in a blue hammock.  Prepares for the worst and buys special gear. Lots of stored water.

Back at work, she wonders if she should color her hair again. She went natural as things got harsh. Short walks and nods to strangers filled her. So much cover gone.

Vietnamese workers sleep in tents on the factory floor to reduce COVID outbreak and protect the supply chain; so fragile now, one accident and flow splinters like cracked glass.

The Governor, on his last day in Albany, asks if anyone will keep his Siberian shepherd, Captain, with a nipping personality.  No one on staff offers. It’s not clear what happens next.

Port congestion is like heart congestion. Slowed down, obstruction in the pathways. The cost of magnets in puzzle toys has risen 50% since March. Better start buying now for Christmas.

Local news–“Was it from the storm? Anybody else notice dead birds? I have a large tree in my front yard. Came out and found multiple dead birds. Almost like they fell out to their death.”

The pilot lowers the plane for more oxygen. A passenger in labor – between countries – fleeing Taliban. In the cargo bay of the aircraft, an infant breathes, opens her eyes.  

Elaine Zimmerman is a policy leader and poet. Publications include Rasp, a chapbook, and poetry in journals and newspapers such as the Hartford Courant, Lascaux Review, Coal Hill Review, New Millennium, New Guard Literary Review, and anthologies including Take a Stand: Art Against Hate, Wild Gods, Waking Up to Earth, 101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium, Forgotten Women, and Worlds in Our Words-Contemporary American Women Writers. Honors include a Pushcart nomination and the Connecticut Poetry and William Stafford awards.