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poetry Cardboard People

A heavy burden we all carry in 2020: What’s missing? asks Arizona poet Lollie Butler. People, smiles and faces.

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Cardboard People

By Lollie Butler

 I’m hungry.  No more vegan food, thank you,

(Sprouts are growing in my gizzard).

 

This hunger is for contact

with other than Lone Ranger substitutes.

Won’t any man drop his mask,  

(keep the pants on for now),

and flash me a bare-cheeked smile? 

 

A year ago, we filed into night games

with flags and giant fingers

pointing to high hopes on a diamond.

Now it’s cardboard faces staring into center field

when Hank hits a can o’ corn

and contagion tags him out—

 

or the priest on Sundays hurls God’s manifesto

at cardboard lips pursed in perpetual Aves.

 

Hasn’t someone invented a time machine yet?

I want to travel back to any year

we smiled, flirted and faced each other.

 

Love, we’re holding fast to you

and our phantom hugs.  Can pinch hitters

learn to emote?

 

I must look as desperate as I am;

oddball woman, masked, sitting in the bleachers,

two rows down from any human,

winking at a cardboard Brad Pitt. 

 Lollie Butler lives on the Sonoran Desert where coyotes and javelina visit instead of people.  She received the Robert Frost Award in poetry and her poem, The One Free Woman in America (dedicated to Rosa Parks) remains on view in the Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Texas A & M University.