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Robbi Nester

Robbi Nester has been writing frantically during the pandemic, and intends to keep it up into the new post-pandemic world. She is the author of 4 books of poetry, the most recent being Narrow Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2019) and has also edited three anthologies. The most recent, The Plague Papers, is available for free at Her poetry and reviews have appeared most recently at Tiferet, North of Oxford, Verse-Virtual, Inflectionist Review, Rhino, and Cultural Weekly.

Travelogue During the Pandemic

Once I dreamed of wandering through the world’s great galleries: the Hermitage,

the Louvre, of visiting Monet’s garden, walking till I fainted with fatigue,

suffered from a surfeit of seeing. What a pleasure it would be to go to a dark

café after all that, where a platter of pelmeni glistened and strong tea steeped

in the samovar till it tinted my teeth with tannin, and just taste for a while,

or to wake in a room in Giverny, white as a cloud, to walk the streets of Paris,

feeling cobblestones under the thin soles of my shoes. At this moment,

it seems almost enough to imagine, while I sit here on my small patio,

where the light still finds me, and a hummingbird visits the orchids,

just now coming into bloom, the scent of jasmine right outside my door.

Summer on a Plate

I don’t know how old I was when I first noticed

that watermelons smell like new-mown grass,

the smell of summer evenings after dinner,

when there’s still plenty of light to play by,

and you can’t wait to run outside before

the lightning bugs arrive, the fleet of

ice cream trucks begin to drive slow circles

round the block. There’s still a wedge

of melon smiling at you on the Pyrex

platter. Black shiny seeds and ghostly

white ones form a face you want to bite,

feel the sticky juice run down your chin.

Maybe it’s the rind that has that faintly

sour tang of grass. The flesh, heavy

with liquid, red and sweet, has another

sort of scent, like cold water when you’ve

been running, and all you want to do

is put your head under the flowing hose

and drink until the water pours down

your neck and shirt and you finally feel cool.

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