Peter Cooley (Video)



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  • This is my poem, "Sheltering in Place."
  • I wanted to write a poem
  • about the Coronavirus,
  • and I had no idea how.
  • But, I was passing by, on my morning walks
  • my neighbor's fence where morning glories
  • are growing all over the fence.
  • And she has a little sign out in front
  • which says, "Please take."
  • So, that inspired the poem along with the
  • fact that Adrian, my neighbor, is a nurse
  • at Ochsner Hospital near my near my house
  • "Sheltering in place." New Orleans,
  • April 2020.
  • Sweat peas on my coffee table insist
  • they start this poem.
  • Once they might have called up
  • a painting by Monet.
  • But today,
  • they're just some image of mortality
  • I snipped quickly from my neighbor's
  • front yard fence.
  • After shaking, I read her note:
  • "Please, please, take."
  • COVID 19. We're sheltering in place.
  • I jog around the block.
  • She walks to work.
  • Emergency NICU nurse
  • at our neighborhood hospital.
  • Over there, somebody is being born,
  • somebody is dying.
  • Somebody is being tested.
  • How much this minute?
  • I crave
  • the sweet pea odor of transfiguration.
  • Oh, no.
  • The cut flower scent is just rusted
  • garden shears.
  • I savor my sense of smell.
  • I'm well, I'm safe at home.
  • Reader, help me tongue taste
  • these flowers' hues.
  • Piquent crimson, tart amethyst,
  • honey ambers.
  • While I've been writing here,
  • someone over there died