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


THRESHOLD

By Lauren Camp

Because to move into any map

or with crowds through light is

not possible

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.

 

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