The list of possible hoards endless-
spoons, old letters, glass bottles.
Among trusted friends,
I blurted out that I had
five gallons of oil
and could do with no less.
I heard gasps.
It was when I stood in my pantry,
jars of virgin and extra virgin oil
lined in neat rows,
that I saw the dark shadows
hiding behind the green bottles.
I can’t feed my grandmother’s children,
torn from their beloved Poland,
shuttled to a frozen Siberia,
in that rattling cow cart.
No matter how much food I buy,
their shadows huddle in my pantry
warning me there may not be enough
“Never stop bringing food,
I am a seventy-one-year-old woman who resides in an intentional community based on socially and environmentally responsible living on our planet. Originally called “The Farm”, and once a hippie commune, now retirement home for hippies, there is a physical gate which we know does not keep us safe from Covid. It is, however, a place where I can grow organic tomatoes, green beans and, this year, an enormous amount of butternut squash. And, importantly, write. My childhood was spent in a Polish refugee camp in post-WWII England. I now consider it my life purpose to give breath and knowledge of what the stamp of being a refugee does to any human being. There are many refugees today and there will be many more due to the environmental crisis and the demise of democracy occurring in the world today. I am currently writing a memoir of my passage from a refugee camp to a hippie life in the sixties in San Francisco, then onto forming what was the largest commune in the United States in the seventies – and onto what is now a haven for young and old who want to “save the world”. After all, what else is there to do?