Today I received a veritable bouquet in my inbox. First, Litterateur, Redefining World, wrote to say my poems were in the January issue, which is good to know, but they haven’t put the January issue online yet–I will update you when that happens. Then, Editor Sara Altman, of Whimsical Poet, wrote to send the link to the digital issue of that journal with “Why the Frogs Sing” in it, and to say that a paper issue will be available soon–again, I will update about that. Finally, the indefatigable David O’Nan, of Fevers of the Mind, wrote to accept my poem, “Second COVID Spring, with Azaleas.”
This last poem, sort of a sequel to my “Pandemic Spring, with Azaleas,” turns out to be somewhat prescient. I wrote it right after I was vaccinated for COVID, when it seemed we were all going to be all right. But I was somewhat leary of such hopes–partly because I’m distrustful of easy fixes by nature, and partly because it was already clear that not everyone was doing what they should to end transmission. Not only were MAGAts being MAGAts, but wealthy countries were not sending vaccines to poorer countries because big Pharma or politically unfeasible, or whatever the “reasons” were. Also, when I had the idea for the poem while rubbing my arm in the living room after the shot, I thought of again linking the azaleas’ reaction or lack thereof to the COVID situation, and I looked out our window-wall to the bank of azaleas there.
Now last time I wrote my poem, I was looking out the bedroom window. The azaleas, of various kinds, were backwards and sideways to the window, the sun was shining, and the whole thing looked like a joyous, crazy choir, completely out of step with lockdown. The azaleas in the beds outside the living room, by contrast, are planted so that the flowers face the house, and instead of variegated bushes, they are a massive phalanx of purple. I noticed they were closer than last year (they had grown), and they were framed by a gloomy atmosphere that day. They appeared to be looking in, if not trying to get in; or, if one saw the blooms as mouths, they seemed to be silently screaming something, perhaps at me.
So I wrote a dark poem about threatening azaleas and wariness in hopeful times. It should be out soon, and I will update you then.
For those concerned about my wrist, the doctor was surprised that it seems to be healed after only four weeks. Now I should practice again.