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Covid Diary

“Neighbors and Friends” by Michele Gage

One year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, ArtsWestchester will reopen its gallery doors with Together apART : Creating During COVID, an intimate look at how the pandemic has changed the lives of its communities. Specifically, it will examine the many ways in which people in Westchester have turned to creative outlets for comfort, expression and company. ArtsWestchester put out a call for artworks created during the pandemic. In return, it received more than 500 submissions in all media, from painting and choreography to film and sculpture.

These poems, in addition to the artwork that accompany them on these pages, will all be exhibited in Together apART, which will open to the public on May 7 with a parallel virtual presentation.

Waiting

I knit a blanket for my unborn grandson,
like exiled Circe with her loom though I have
no potent herbs, no nymphs or naiads
to keep me company. I have rabbits by the handful,
weed-choked flowers, my body’s constant hum
of skin waiting to be touched.

Hydrangeas flattened by weighty rain
will rise in the sun. Grief can only last
so long before I am buoyed by a child
saying she’s excited for marshmallows
and fireworks. We will float together
on today until her father comes back.

Sitting low in a kayak, my friend and I dip
paddles in choppy water, the pleasure of muscles
waking up while the day goes to rest.
We talk of how to love our daughters
from a distance, how to be safe on the river,
navigating fishermen, freighters, families.

A squirrel chews through my screen
to reach its peach reward while the dog jumps
out another screen, the leap itself his goal.
I try to sniff the future, to find ripe fruit. 

– Robin Dellabough


Photographs

I’ve never been much on photographs
When I was young
and even now in my vintage years
I am hard to see
But in the days, I envision my image
head thrown back
mouth wide open
heart covered in joy
I came up in a day where
children were taught
be seen, not heard
I have lived long enough
to like the way I look and
the multiplicity of my words
I lift my head and celebrate
the beauty of mi boca grande
the sound of laughter in my throat
and the sienna of my skin

– Jacqui Reason

 

Touch
– for TG 

Houses with spalling walls gaze
upon us, creaky doors askew, decades
of memory in rippled windows.
Sugar maples too old for taps
and spiles strew our path with roots
like tangled hanks of rope.
Ivy reads the braille of a stone wall.
A lone iris – bud still furled – tries
not to wither before it flowers.
We enter the cemetery, monuments
to remember two centuries of mothers,
fathers, soldiers, children, and here –
among scattered mounds too fresh
for headstones – you lie alone. Even now,
we cannot touch you to say goodbye.

– James K. Zimmerman

A version of this article first appeared in the April issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.