Poet Galina Itskovich, a New Yorker born in Ukraine, commiserates with us as she reads several short poems that descr
ibe her experiences from earlier in the COVID pandemic. Find the text below, and feel free to share the video and text with your friends and your classes. The poem appears in the second book of the international collection of poetry, prose, and images, global insides—the second phase, available on Amazon and at Chalantpublishing.com. Galina practices psychotherapy, teaches, and writes in two languages. Her poetry, translations, and short fiction have appeared in Poetica, Asian Signature, Cardinal Points, Former People, and elsewhere. There are also multiple publications in Russian language journals. She has provided therapeutic support for COVID victims and COVID heroes.
The Language of Joy and Journey
Last summer, I used to
run my fingers gently along the coastline
in the old road atlas, on the used books shelf,
and the names of bunks and coves would stick to fingertips.
Pity that the familiar storekeeper
went out of business or died this past spring.
The ocean waves roar and break the rocky names into the dust.
Maine, August 2020
The Estate Sale
“Historical property built in 1766.
The Century XXI sells it as is.”
This is the buyers' market but, where are they?
The quiet joy of destruction
marks the day.
Brooklyn, September 2020
Translation from COVID
Learning to coexist with COVID,
to cram its phonemes, make sense of its rigid rules,
shells of humans pay homage
to the former, outgoing selves.
Being stuck indoors creates story rooms.
Storage for stories and images, that’s where we dwell.
While COVID covets new territory,
I recite Pushkin and Decameron
to the imaginary grandchildren
in the imaginary attic, they ask for more.
That’s all I have my dears,
that is all, shelled peanuts of freakish, outdated words.
Freaksibility’s high, oxygen’s low.
COVID is constricted to invisible cavities,
but despair roams the streets freely, and even so,
tucked in the virtual corner,
I translate from COVID
to the language of joy and journey.
New York, September 2020
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