Volume 27, Number 4

Good News Sestina

Screw bad news. I’ve found a cool nail polish:
Carpe Diem Rosé. Viva gum drops, rainbows.
Photos from 30 years ago keep popping up
in my email. ESP: I too am hunting in boxes
bent with years. Are we all doing the same thing—
retreating, reminiscing, tranquilizing the mind?

Here, we are gorgeous—dark-haired, clear-minded.
We wear crisp blouses with necklaces polishing
off satiny necks. We are doing the lunch thing
at Fish Enterprise. Then we are a rainbow
lined up on Santa Monica sand. Our inboxes
fill with OMGs over sofas, coats, lovers given up

long ago, our closets stashed with bellied-up
moths, diplomas, lab reports. Wrap your mind
around elegy, haiku. Delete the lugubrious, box
up bile, acrimony, doomsday crap. Polish
old drafts. Maybe even hum “Over the Rainbow”
for a week, mute the bombs-bursting-in-air thing

no one can sing anyway except Whitney. Thing
is you’ll have to give up obsession, give up
the factual. Instead, imagine senators in rainbow-
hued silk pajamas talking deficits. It’s just mind
over insanity. Or Tea Partiers composing Polish
sestinas over Chopin vodka. More photos in boxes:

Anna Grabe, 75, with husband Olev in a shoebox.
Great-grandma’s sister survived pogroms & a thing
worse—WWII. Anna in the creased b&w Polish
photo, nose like Mom’s. How did they not give up?
If only questions would have come to my mind
before 3 generations vanished over the rainbow.

Harmony of their crossing over on an arc-en-ciel.
Here’s another Kodak moment from a shoebox:
me holding up a mask at the Faire. My girls minded
it was a red & white boob mask—a Renaissance thing.
Now imagine surfeits of volunteers signing up
for the Peace Corps. All those lovely ones polishing

up their parlez-vous, Arabic, doing their Swahili thing.
And Barack, un-boxed, getting doom off his mind:
Carpe Diem polish going on his toes at Rainbow Nails.

—Judith Terzi