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Sunday, April 26, 2020


by Judith Terzi

There they are—intimate backgrounds
for the news these COVID-19 days.
It's as if we were voyeurs into the lives
of those we watch & listen to. There they

are, right in their own living spaces. Fireplace
here, lampshade there. Bookshelves filled
with oeuvres that surely don't include any
of my poetry books. I see titles like I Am

That or Night Draws Near. I see games
like Yahtzee & Big Boggle. A stuffed lion
waits on one shelf. On another, a clay
hippopotamus. Dull brown pillows thrown

on a chair in a home for effect in one
interview. Or maybe it's an Airbnb rented
in haste for isolation. Probably so. The lamps
seem pretty Motel 6-like. Madame Nancy

stands in front of an abstract art piece. I love
the pastels, & her eye makeup this evening
is subtler than at her last interview. Different
lighting, perhaps. I've heard that a naked

man in a shower was accidentally on camera
thanks to a mirror not removed in time.
Someone has wedding photos hanging
in perfect alignment. She looks happier

in the black & white glossies. A former
Intelligence maven has six books on a table––
three lying down, three upright, but
upside down. Another hasty setup no doubt.

And a different maven has two copies
of Leon Panetta on a little table along with
Six Days of War. Grim, detailed reading,
for sure. Oprah has such a cool living room.

I love her comfy sofa, her unlit fireplace.
There is a low-fired turquoise pitcher
on someone else's shelf. Pottery—still no
poetry that I can spot. The avocado walls

of yet another background are rich,
as is the cranberry wall of the former
Ebola tsar. Gee, I'm dying to see the rest
of Madame Nancy's house. Aren't you?

Author of Museum of Rearranged Objects (Kelsay), as well as of five chapbooks, including Casbah and If You Spot Your Brother Floating By (Kattywompus), Judith Terzi's poems have received Pushcart and Best of the Web and Net nominations and have been read on Radio 3 of the BBC. She holds an M.A. in French Literature and taught high school French for many years as well as English and French at California State University, Los Angeles, and in Algiers, Algeria.