Santa Fe’s poet laureate, Elizabeth Jacobson, asked local writers to contribute to Pasatiempo’s Poetry of the Pandemic series.
By Charlotte Jusinski
Forgive me these things:
Two bottles of olive oil
the premium kind
they were the last two left, hidden way back
on a bottom shelf where no one could see.
I didn’t need two but they were
the last two
forgive me this, I panicked, I took them both
paid nearly thirty dollars for them.
An hour spent in bed
with a man I don’t know very well.
We were not six feet apart
but we were fully clothed and we didn’t
even touch our lips to each other’s lips
but I wanted so badly his palm
on my spine
forgive me, I didn’t distance myself, I put my head
on his chest.
Forgive that I spent some time
quite some time
when I should have been working.
What else is there to do:
Will the printer even be open to produce this magazine
I’m editing, that my writers created, that I crafted
I did not brush
my teeth yesterday
Forgive me that sloth.
Yesterday was hard and
I didn’t get out of bed
But I did today
Charlotte Jusinski grew up in New Jersey and has lived mostly in Santa Fe since 2003. She studied writing at the College of Santa Fe and is currently the editor of El Palacio, the official magazine of the state museums of New Mexico.
By Kim Parko
Last night, we bonded with friends over strategies
for stockpiling food during the quarantine. I’ve started
seeds in jars. I rinse them with filtered water
morning and evening. Their pale roots search
for ground. After four days, the tiny leaves
turn green. They strive. We’ll eat them before long.
Earlier, in our backyard, my daughter sentenced me
to five years in prison for trespassing into animal
territory. My daughter stood guard on the invisible
line that led from the mulberry to the raised bed,
beyond which lived the peaceable kingdom. As
she wielded a slender pole. I was told
to go to the dungeon, the bleached and ripped
tent that has housed many a backyard institution,
but I requested a place in the sun.
She was a humane guard, so I sat imprisoned
on the warm patio. And the chains
around my ankles were actually my idea.
Kim Parko is the author of the books The Grotesque Child (co-winner, 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Press Book Prize) and Cure All (Caketrain Press, 2010), and the chapbook Overburden (Dancing Girl Press, 2019). Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Denver Quarterly, Boston Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Black Warrior Review. Parko lives in Santa Fe, where she is a professor at the Institute of American Indian Arts.
By Miriam Sagan
My father called everyone “Sir.”
It was his egalitarian mission,
they called him that, he responded in kind.
My father was not naturally
a lover of people
but he loved humanity
in general. SIR
at the man selling chestnuts
from a cart — hot
they burned through mittens
as we tossed them
from hand to hand
finally eating them,
so meaty and sweet.
My childhood is gone
now from that ravaged city
where piled corpses
are buried on the little islands
that welcomed them before —
erased from the sidewalk
the hopscotch labyrinth
that once led —
throw a stone, then hop hop —
to the square marked
Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 books, including two memoirs, A Hundred Cups of Coffee (Tres Chicas Books, 2019) and Bluebeard’s Castle (Red Mountain Press, 2019). She founded and headed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement in 2016. Her blog, Miriam’s Well (miriamswell.wordpress.com), has 1,500 daily readers. Awards include the Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, Texas. She is a two-time winner of the New Mexico/Arizona Book Awards.