Nothing can be found here
There is no space to grow
The walls are moving closer
I don’t know where to go
Up is to the left
Except when it’s to the right
Outside the sun is shining
But in here it’s always night
At least Alice had notes
And a white rabbit to chase
But I’ve got no map
To get out of this place
You’ve created a picture
For others to see
But just under the paint
Is a different version of we
Your madhouse is shifting
Escher’s got nothing on you
You’re spinning your web
And I’m not getting through
At least Alice had notes
And a white rabbit to chase
But I’ve got no map
To get out of this place

It’s 5:00 a.m.,
And my eyes
Flutter open.
In the dark.
Has called a meeting.
Ah, yes, of course.
It’s Brain.
Regret starts reviewing
All the stupid choices
I’ve made in my life.
Body groans and rolls over.
Annoyance complains
About wind
And ice
And I hate winter.
Anxiety is worried
About money
And getting a job
And what if I get COVID?
Sadness misses
And friends
And hugs.
OCD is wondering if
Double masks will make it
Okay to play sports.
And what about the variants?
“I’m Wide Awake” by Katy Perry
Starts playing.
Body is not amused.
No, no, no — stop!
Stomach is thinking
About getting a snack
Since this meeting doesn’t
Seem to be ending
Any time soon.
Body sighs.
Nerd remembers
That if you take a deep breath
And hold it for 20 seconds,
It resets your amygdala
And calmness
Takes over.
Body says “Let’s do this”
And shuts down
The meeting.
Body stretches out
And settles in.
Breathing slows.
Body drifts off.
And Brain
Takes its agenda to


I stroll through the woods in the park,
Delighting in the soft pine needles beneath my feet
And the quiet of the trees,
Accompanied by gentle notes
Played by sparrows and warblers,
In peace.
317 miles away, a Black man–
A philanthropist and bird lover–
Sits in a park, watching the birds
In the trees and taking in their bountiful songs
And inherent beauty.
But his peace is painfully interrupted
By a force of whiteness that sees him as a threat,
Not a person with dignity.
Mosquitos interrupt my reverie,
Attacking me and driving me out
Of the woods.
I run for the sanctuary
Of the fields underneath
The embrace of an azure sky
Dappled with tufts of cotton.
I breathe in the fresh air.
Peace is found so effortlessly.
1,197 miles away,
A Black man,
Who used his skills and athletic prowess
To play football in college,
Goes for a run
Under the embrace of an azure sky
Dappled with tufts of cotton.
He breathes in the fresh air and exhales.
But his reverie is interrupted
By a storm of hatred in the form
Of white men
Who hunt him down, striking him with bullets
That stop his breathing forever.
There is no peace.

I delight in the light breeze
Tickling the hair on my arms
And offering scents of honeysuckle
And freshly mowed grass
As I head home.
I do a little happy dance,
Grateful for summer.

2,080 miles away,
A Black man,
Who loves animals,
Is dancing on his way home,
Listening to music
Through his ear buds
And thinking about what he will play
On his violin when he gets back.
But his reverie is shattered
When police descend upon him,
Summoned by white fear,
And put him in a chokehold
For being different.
For being “suspicious.”
Two days later, he is gone.
There is no peace.
Later that night, I collapse into a soft bed
And drift off,
Listening to the peepers and crickets
Just outside our window,
And the gentle breathing of my husband
Beside me.
The house is silent,
And we are at peace.
1,075 miles away,
A Black woman,
Who saves lives
Without questioning
Their value,
Is sleeping soundly
Next to her love
When police burst in,
And there is an explosion
Of gunfire
That leaves her bleeding out
On the floor,
Never to get back up.
There is no peace,
No quiet,
No sanctuary,
Until there is peace,
And sanctuary
For everyone.
For hundreds of years,
America let things fester.
So many of us went about our lives.
We were complicit.
It was always there,
Just beneath our consciousness.
But now, we can’t unsee it.
And we cannot rest until all have peace.


“The peepers are here!”
I exclaim to the night,
Drawing on the wonder and awe
From the year I was five.

Why do their cherubic chants
Compel me to sprint outside
Like I’ve heard the first call
Of an ice cream truck?
Why am I dancing on the lawn
Like a barefoot nymph?
Because the peepers always come home
And they never lie
About the coming of spring
Although it may seem far beyond reach.

The peepers can see it
Through the torrents of rain,
The errant snow squalls,
And the windblown sleet.

They know it will still come
Despite a lockdown and social distancing,
And handwashing until your hands bleed,
And a virus that scares the world to death

Spring isn’t canceled because of those things,
And neither are the flowers, the trees,
Or the peepers,
Who sing the earth to sleep each night.


Someone painted the sky
With raspberry juice and pumpkin purée,
Watermelon, peach fuzz,
And orange creamsicles from Mom.

And they gently decorated every tree and bush
With generous tufts of cotton
And tucked in the Earth with a blanket of down.
And they waited.

So stunning was this surprise
When the birds awoke
That they held their songs inside
To contemplate the moment.

And the people stumbling out of their homes,
Bleary-eyed and expecting another day of toil and drudgery,
Stopped to stare,
Despite the thermometer’s glaring report of five below.

And some of them recalled
That beauty and hope
Are still alive,
As are we.

Despite rampant storms of rage and hatred
Fed by fear,
Roaming seemingly unchecked,
They saw beauty and hope.

Sharing the same dawn,
They remembered
That light is behind the darkness,
If you pause to look.

Amy Gautschi: I’m a new poet and have not published anything as of yet. My day job consists of writing and editing for businesses and nonprofits. I’m also a songwriter, and I’ve written a few nonfiction articles here and there. I live in the beautiful state of Maine in the U.S.