For Cheri Wood, 2020
By Pegi Deitz Shea

Hiking in the Belding preserve, I’m felled by the sight
of trees, criss-crossed on the forest floor
as if gods had forgotten their pick-up sticks.
Trucks had hauled other trees away to…where?
Canopy gone, the onslaught of air is unbearable.

The State prescribed the decimation to thin
mature oaks and destroy invasive spruce,
to make room for oak seedlings and native pitch pine,
to loosen the earth for worms and bugs,
to woo back warblers, towhees, Baltimore orioles.

But I see, hear nothing beyond the dying and the dead.
Yet deeper in the woods, smells evergreen my nose. Burbles
of waterfalls tether my terrier and she greedily drinks.
Trails diverge. Flickers invite me up a beaten path
where boughs of ribbons dangle ornaments—

glass spheres without spikes, glittery spirals twirling
in a space of positive pressure. The corridor
of green has ladders of light. My eyes climb
to a rare red crossbill calling come, come, here, here, here
here is enough for the long dark winter.

*An irruption is an uncharacteristic, large migration of animals
to a different place in search of nourishment.
(Poem first published in Connecticut River Review, 2021.)

(to the beat of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “My Shot” © 2015 Hamilton)
by Pegi Deitz Shea

Science gotta get a Covid — shot!
We just gotta get a Covid — shot!
We’re distancing and masking,
sacrificing and we’re asking,
will there ever be a Covid — shot?

Fearful friends and families crying.
Without a cure, deaths keep climbing.
No sports, live tunes, fine dining.
We really need a Covid — shot!

We’re straining with crazy schooling,
losing jobs, our homes, our cool and
we’re starving — we ain’t fooling!
Hurry up with that Covid — shot!

Warp speed vaccine, but mumbling—
too many too fast — there’ll be bungling.
Leaders silenced some of the grumbling
by stepping up to take their — shot.

Science has a couple Covid — shots!
We just gotta get our Covid — shots!
We’re distancing and masking,
sacrificing and we’re asking,
when and how to get a Covid — shot?

Number one: hero doctors and nurses,
first responders, healthcare workers,
surely had to be the firstest
to get their Covid — shots.

Number two: crowded homes with habitees:
some already with disease,
the aged, ill, and special needs,
had to get their Covid — shots.

Feds and states, where’s the planning?
Who comes next? Who’s been manning
VAMS websites, phone lines jamming
with the rest of us needing — shots?

Vernon gathered surrounding towns to
help the elderly, rural, and poor who
lacked laptops, internet, and rides to
arrange their Covid — shots.

The library filled with volunteers
taking calls, calming people’s fears
in 36 languages, making it clear
that everyone will get their — shots!

With healthcare networks, Vernon could
run mobile vaccine clinics that would
hit churches, centers, neighborhoods
to deliver the Covid — shots.

Then word got out to TV crews
and Vernon landed on national news
showing America different ways to
get everybody Covid — shots.

Pharma’s gotta make more Covid — shots!
Cause we gotta get our Covid — shots!
We’re still distancing and masking,
sacrificing and we’re asking,
when will the rest get Covid — shots?

Number three: Connecticut teachers next.
(We’re indebted, they’re forever blessed.)
But essential workers and sick folks stressed
they desperately need Covid — shots.

Our turns will come, so heed the guides.
After all, we’re on the same side.
Where the least of us breathes, we all abide.
With patience, we’ll get our — shots.

No one’s sure how long it will take
to conquer Covid’s many strains.
Friends, stay vigilant, kind, and safe.
and make sure you get your Covid — shots.

(Poem first published in Coming Out of Covid Anthology, 2022)