Author: Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso

What We Make

Watch me read this poem.

Breathing is a little bit easier 
Though all my ads 
are for better masks 
so I can keep my air
to myself and not inhale yours 

Yet still I smile 
You can see it 
In my blue eyes
And their attendant wrinkles

At home we make each other laugh
We make art
We make up words
We make mistakes
We apologize 
We rewind
And start over

We stay in our pajamas
Until getting dressed 
becomes absolutely necessary 

We must still hibernate 
In our homemade cave
Which has certainly seen 
cleaner days

But finally, we know that 
spring is coming
Even if it takes until fall to arrive

We know emerging from
This claustrophobic 
underground 
Will take time
For some, a lifetime
Costing copious tears and 
Sacrificial sweat 
and innocent blood 
that’s already been shed

And we will make it through
Make it up as we go along
Make it better than the broken truth
Make good 
On our undelivered promises 
To each other 
Make space for all the voices
To be heard
Even when it means quieting our own
Make room for all the people
At the welcome table 
Make a new way

One day we will take off our masks
And see each other clearly
And savor sharing the same sweet air

© Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
January 2021

Just watch


I give myself unlimited chances 

and infinite wishes

That I can choose to grant 

I cultivate curiosity 

exchange skepticism for wonder

I create simply for creation’s sake

Offering the same opportunity to others

I draw with a thick black marker (chisel tip) the delineation between me and you

And I will shimmer and shine in my own space while you do as you wish in yours

In the Morning

I have heard that the cracks are where the light comes in

And in the places we were broken we are stronger

That’s what the poets say

But someone has to sweep up the pieces, to find every last one, and set to work with toothpicks and superglue 

Because we the people are shattered, scattered, smashed to bits

According to the sages

our scars make us who we are

But to have a scar we must stop the bleeding and heal the wound.

For now the blood still flows

the wounds are open

the battle continues

Into the Universe

Never before 
have I been asked
by so many people 
to pray

This moment
must require
immense 
energy
from all 
of us

We understand
(at last)
how much
we are bound
up in each 
other

Prayer
(to me)
is intention
not
transaction

So I breathe in
(deeply)
and breathe out
fully

and send
prayers

for 

strength

courage

peace

relief

patience

healing

grace

calm

presence

Take what you need
and share 
the rest
with 
others

© Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso
November 2020

Enough

Tell me about despair,
yours, and
I will tell you
mine

Meanwhile, we will
laugh and cry and scream
and threaten to
run away from home
and lose ourselves in
games and stories
and less wholesome vices
and make ourselves get out of bed
again
every morning
though sometimes
we will wear pajamas
all day

Meanwhile, we will
check on each other
more than usual
because we know
what it feels like
to be teetering
on the edge of sanity
(and to fall
over the precipice,
sometimes)

Does this get any easier?
I don’t believe so
Only more familiar

Meanwhile, we offer
absolution to
ourselves
as often as possible
because we tend to forget things
(and people,
sometimes)
because our brains
and our hearts
are overfull
and our bodies
are exhausted

We are making
more messes
and letting them linger
but we are
doing the best
we can

even when it’s not
enough

We are sitting with
our feelings
or under our feelings
(when they become oppressive and heavy)
or eating
our feelings
or telling those damn feelings to
get the hell our of our house
when we have had
ENOUGH

We are listening
to each other
that’s got to be
enough

© Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso (with gratitude to Mary Oliver)
October, 2020