You know my mother was from Corona
O Corona Corona I look and see the world in every language
I see recipes of hope Corona Fat Nancy’s Mrs. Franklin’s The Lemon Ice King Corona Park A & P O Corona Corona the hustle and bustle the call to prayer orange hard hats steaming Styrofoam cups of coffee extra sweet two special to go
The too-afraid-to-call-in-sick place where once polio lived O Corona Corona the aroma of Queens New York is ground into me like old pink gum cemented to the street it stays with you forever Corona wafts like steam from the subway casts gray shadows from the EL train rumbles loneliness every time that single mournful horn blows
Here in Corona the Dutch came and made corn and wheat and enslavement made currency and pain but now to walk down Corona Boulevard is to walk around the world dialects mix with spices and dance hall music gods from every nation come out in Sunday best and parade down the pot-holed block
This isn’t our first war this wasn’t the first time our streets were deserted and pox-holed this wasn’t our first pandemic we have too many memories of funeral homes too many placebos undisciplined responses and television cameos where even the doctors lose their cool when you see Dr. Fauci you know we’ll talk T-cells antibiotics coagulants personal protection and prophylactics for your finger mouth gums and hands we will see you covered from head to toe and we will learn that plagues create witch hunts poor harvests attacks on Jews only small tiny moments of true hope take a hard look at the terror’s trajectory for a while we all were from Corona and no matter how much money you had how strong your door the wind would blow and the rain came down and nothing mattered because we all got off at this last subway stop Corona drunk failing and under the influence of broken people
You can tell who truly loves you
When everyone else around you is dying
Bodies drop and fall like snowflakes on a winter morning
They fall from the sky or the top of great skyscrapers and leave
Snowballs and ghosts all around
They melt like ice on the sidewalk seep into the cracks
We wonder where money where time goes we believe
Let’s just love everything until we get it right
Until then a sugar encrusted almond horn will solve everything
Let’s make a plan when we’re sixty if we’re still on this side of the green grass
Let’s make a promise to sit side-by-side knee-to-knee elbow-to-elbow
Let’s snuggle so close that I can taste your breath
Let’s dream the enormous empty space in between us is a tunnel
That carries air to my lungs until I hold you again
Letter from a Live Teacher to a Dead Teacher
Dear Eddie, this virus reminds me of the first lonely days in 1987 when you called me and said, “I hope I haven’t killed you.”
Dear Eddie, this day reminds me of hard orange plastic chairs, fluorescent lights, and dark brown blood
Dear Eddie, this moment reminds me of you, getting the placebo in Albany, NY, dilated pupils, black and blue sores, raw thrush
Dear Eddie, today I wondered if it was in the wind. Was it in the pipes running like veins below Castro Street? Remember when they closed down the bath houses?
Dear Eddie, I am thinking of maxing out my credit card just like you did in the old days.
Dear Eddie, my colleague told me this wasn’t like AIDS, because “back then, it was just you homosexuals.”
Dear Eddie, if I live through a second pandemic, I bet I’ll be able to fly.
Nancy Klepsch poet and teacher who was born in Brooklyn, NY, and currently lives in Upstate NY. She has been writing poetry since she was in the fourth grade and decided to go to college after watching her mother type envelopes for a penny a piece in the late 60s. She has been published in many online and print publications, and has exhibited or curated public poetry installations throughout the Capital Region of Upstate NY; some of these installations received grant awards from Breathing Lights, the New York State Council on the Arts via its community-based arts grants program, the City of Troy, NY and the Albany International Airport. god must be a boogie man is her first published book of poems.