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By Therese L. Broderick

Months of plague, weeks when I shun
the bare-cupped palms
of parking lot beggars. Nights I retreat

from laundromats and McGeary’s
into the vaults of Facebook Live
or Google Meet.  Today I hunker


with other Zoomers in cramped
pixel-hectic rooms, ping-ponging
like boxers in a ring.  Sometimes I split


into paired screens the deranged mosaic
of windows and tiles—pantheon
of hosts and donors in pajamas—


or I toss away alms—virtual hearts
dissolving out of reach.
I spell Plz &Thx, Please and Thanks


with the lettered beads
on my sanitized keyboard. Grateful 
for the charity of text-predictors


in this year of seeking favor
from gods of Connectivity,
and absolution from the lepers.

Scarcity of food dropped by beachgoers forces sea gulls to kill and eat pigeons

~ news report, May 2020

By Therese L. Broderick

I’ve learned to tell the difference—petulant screech

of blue jay, persistent squeal of wind-tossed ash tree.

But this morning’s dire hysteria? never heard of


until now, when crumbs littering West Lawrence Street

have run out; and the largest crow I’ve ever seen

shambled its way, alone, from the broad ledge


of the patio wall down to the ornamental spruce,

its amazon wings and tail feathers askew—

airspace too scant, the angle too meager


for swoops and loops. Buoyancy unaccustomed to

hunger. And this other bird, my own ordinary robin

unaccustomed to a black corvid descending


to invade and attack her nest: stabbing the first-born chick

to death, devouring it in seconds, leaving no trace

of flesh on the lawn for red-chinned turkey vultures—


I hear her loud, crazed skrikes as the shrieks

of mothers, nurses, a helpless onlooker.


~ tread, press, stamp (Lat.)

By Therese L. Broderick

From decal to decal to decal, I tread through Market 32.

This way only: up the aisle of milk and bread.


That way only: down the aisle of disinfectants.


Temporary arrows rolled out by temporary workers
(while I was asleep, wrangling with full-time nightmares).


Onwards I press, following signs, obeying warnings.


When the masked guy in front of me stops his cart,
I stop.


He’s pricing some buy-one-get-one-free boxes of cookies.


Bargains blare. Discounts scream. From every direction
spreads the anarchy of BOGO stickers. 

The floor trembles.


 Therese L. Broderick is an editor of Rockvale Review and a workshop leader at Pyramid Life Center. She has been a Hudson Valley Writers Guild volunteer for many years.  Her poem “Mr. Canada Admonishes the Poets” won an Intro Journals Project prize from the Association of Writers & Writing.

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