UNDER CORONA #3
By Sawnie Morris
I have nothing to say about this room its bamboo floorboards and a window
open with ink & rocks & a wedding photograph
on a series of sills designed to admit horizon.
I have nothing to say about a catalogue of paintings peering over
a garden-pot full of paintbrushes the hair
on their heads alert even greyer than mine though tinted
like a grandmother’s hair rinsed in 20th century lavender.
Nothing about Joan Mitchell’s name in bruised-blue & maroon or
Cy Twombly’s in florations of white & emerald emboldened in pink.
Nothing about a strip of white dripping down the side of a cabinet
on wheels & holding the explosions of a palette.
How bizarre to be here — still — the canvas torn twice!
How inexplicable the irises beyond the open door
their leaves looking more like serpents nodding
in the spring of a desert garden well-watered or a congregation
of cartoon dinosaurs with long necks their heads conferring
on the nature of demise and return.
Strange the brilliance of early spring a deliberation of lineated colors
of graphite spiraling in the meander of an oozing pond a marsh-
land of orange and blue fevers against black.
What’s more black than the fertile underworld of Gaia?
What’s more desolate than a flat plain of ochre peopled by silhouettes
of nameless trees the feeling of endlessness that an
unpeopled grassland at dusk brings.
Nothing about drops of turquoise and carnelian.
Nothing about drop-cloths the sinews of your Mahatma Gandhi body
as you ease from your clothes.
Nothing about cracks in my thumb the broken skin of
knuckles & joints from anxious washing.
Nothing about bleach fumes scorching my throat and lungs stupidly.
Nothing about breathing peppermint steam in an effort to heal.
Nothing about the daily cutting of vegetables the sound
of Judy Woodruff’s voice on the PBS news hour the harsh moon
surface of an avocado or potatoes with their eyes
crawling out of their skins.
Nothing about frozen raspberries melting
or almonds in a bowl on the floor for three days.
What is it with the number 3 ? Its uneven familiarity its magic its unfortunate
relation to crowds & isolation ?
The days follow one another like elephants toward a distant lake
one of them remembers so the others trust her.
April 25, 2020
Sawnie Morris’s poetry collections include Her, Infinite (New Issues Press, 2016), which won a New Issues Poetry Prize. She was the inaugural poet laureate of Taos.
EASTER SUNDAY 2020
By Barbara Robidoux
300 million monarch butterflies are headed to New Mexico on their northern migration. We will welcome them after months of sickness and grieving from novel covid 19virus.
After a few weeks of above normal temperatures and spring weather, it is coming on cold again with snow in Santa Fe. I cover the snowpeas and radishes with an old tablecloth. Button up the greenhouse and cover all the plants with remay. Tomato plants and New Mexico chili get two covers, they hate the cold.
I pick a bouquet of purple irises to bring inside. There are so many flowering now but tonight’s snow and cold will kill them. The peach tree is flowering and setting on fruit, apples and plums are slower, more cautious of the cold. I’m holding off installing a nucleus of honeybees. It is way too cold to open the hives. We all trust warmer weather will return.
When the pandemic ends it will be all new, the old will die with the virus. Some
say a portal will open, a gateway to a new world just big enough to walk through, our old baggage left behind.
purple irises shiver
in April’s last snow
corona virus rages
Barbara Robidoux is the author of three books of poetry and two collections of fiction. Her fiction is set on a northeastern reservation where she lived before relocating to Santa Fe 25 years ago. Her forthcoming chapbook of poetry, Stirring Sorrow into Soup, will be released by Finishing Line Press in spring 2021
By Lauren Camp
Because to move into any map
or with crowds through light is
I’ve been writing letters
to random numbers and putting them in the mailbox
without touching it
Sliding them stiff to a narrow dark
slot to go through ether to
celebrate a connection Because to send them
is to face someone else
We are all every shade of the past
sense of future
and we can’t be in a line or a labyrinth together
Someone sends me a book
sends me a movie
Because each of my letters begins
in doubt and is a retelling
of best days Because a nervous system needs
the air of love that is
people I put clouds in my letters
They fold out to circles
The night leaves its shoulder on my portal
while I wrap blue ink to say
another familiar a songbird a dream
Everyone is desperate for
missed calls and gathered pleasures Everything
is the desert Look up!
The sky put up its moons and we stand in the middle
see them grow ears We miss
showing up late and ordering chile
But the used-to world is
a terror so we scrutinize spring which comes
with its greedy heart its buds
and pink There’s a cottonwood on my road leaning over
and I duck under as I walk
to the mailbox Who knows how long we’ll need
this kind of repair in reverse The wind is
sorting its lesson
but I move into the guitar
and roam of it Because it doesn’t know
parting it’s strumming the wide expanse
of road and so what I’m
missing much I am lucky
Lauren Camp is the author of five poetry collections, including Took House (Tupelo Press, August 2020). She teaches through Poetry Out Loud-New Mexico, Santa Fe Community College, and community workshops.