WITHOUT ROD OR STAFF IN THE AGE OF SATELLITES AND VIRUSES
I sleep sheltered by nothing
drink water from a ladle
offered from no one’s hand.
Along the muddy slope
of the river where no man stands,
even the wind does not touch
my uncovered shoulders.
TAYVE NEESE’s work has appeared in journals and anthologies around the country and abroad including The Paris Review (online edition), Comstock Review, Fourteen Hills, and diode. She was longlisted for the 2019 University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize in Australia. Her work has been translated into Vietnamese, and Blood to Fruit, her full-length collection of poems, was published in 2015. Locust, her second collection of poems, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. She is Co-executive Editor of Trio House Press, and was interviewed by The Best American Poetry in 2018. A member of the Concord Poetry Center in Massachusetts, Neese currently resides on a barrier island off the coast of Florida.
Author’s note: “We are living through something of historical proportion, and this makes me think of the Bible and how people wrote small psalms and such to help them navigate through experiences like plagues and death. “And lo though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” In this COVID pandemic, we are all walking through the valley in the shadow, and we have no rod or staff; we have nothing. There is so little information, there are no vaccines, and there are certainly no tests. Our only option to survive is to isolate from one another.”
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