Poet’s Corner


Collective Calamity
By Gail DeNicola

I’m a country girl now
Walking the dirty Covid-cleared streets of New York
Snippets of phone conversations shoot by
All about Covid, tested? Not? Visiting? Bringing food?
What kind of holiday is this so glad when it’s all over
Will it ever be over I can’t take this anymore
Not the conversations I’m having in the country
Snow removal, two frozen pipes
Throw cheap vodka down the shower drain
will the heating system hold up at -2 degrees
I’m missing the wacky exuberance Dean Young
would surely capture walking these city streets
not sure it’s here at the moment
Empty buildings stark, abandoned, no more
crowded lunch hours subway crush museum lines
Where’s the city cacophony the costumes the cries
of everyday indignity — gone to Covid, everyone
When will they ever learn…when
But my country life, lots of flowers here
A lifetime ago who woulda thought
this Armani-suited executive would leave
the city for love after many years of concrete
Got a yard and a pool and a stepson
every weekend instant family at forty
A cook husband the nonplussed beneficiary
Of my mud-splattered toil in the garden growing
five-foot basil, parsley sage thyme
Peonies, balloon flowers, hydrangeas astilbes
Our fierce cat stoned on the catmint
getting in tussles with possums and skunks
our biggest excitement attending to his war wounds,
or an enormous deer in the back yard
striking Lyme disease terror in our hearts
or coyotes snapping up small dogs in the hood
there is a lot of drama in these rural enclaves

Driving back to the country I just heard
a new version of On the Eve of Destruction
adapted for our diseased country
And I don’t just mean Covid
The giant white birch I worshipped toppled today
from its soaring heights in the dark winter woods
The ground underneath too wet, the wind too strong.

Gail DeNicola has summered on the Vineyard for many years.  She recently returned from living in France for six years where she was head of marketing at the American University of Paris.

Poets with a connection to Martha’s Vineyard are encouraged to submit poems to Laura Roosevelt at ldroosevelt@gmail.com