I heard Joni through the speakers and was feeling rather Blue
With no rounds for freaks nor soldiers, nor lovers to shampoo.
You see, there’s a pandemic, and a consequential pause
Of the merry meets and mundane feats that give the days their cause.

In their place we have been spending quite a bit of time in house
I once loved it as my refuge; now I rot in here, a louse.
I could drink a case of you
, pines Joni, ever tender,
Yet in Covid times, the lyric gives but license for a bender.

I went fishing in my icebox, then, for drink, or bite of green,
Or a fleeting A to festering Q of “what does this all mean?”
Betwixt the heads of broccoli and Dijon mustard, soured,
I ‘spected find a snack, a beer, a Blanc to be devoured. 

The wind is in from Africa, Miss Mitchell chirps, melodious,
As I chance upon a pot that smells like pits of one ex-POTUS.
I hold my breath and lift the lid, revealing chickpeas, furried,
Dust clouds got in my way, and it was to the sink I scurried.

She once sang of stardust, Joni, and indeed, I’m bathed in flecks,
Not golden, though, but mold-en motes cling to my turtleneck.
I rinse away the particles, black faux-cashmere now spared
But the putrid peas await my touch; I must confess I’m scared.

I glove a hand and hear ‘bout how we’ve gotta get back to the garden
I ache for my pre-Covid life and marvel, How peas harden!
To extricate them from this pan might take an act of Congress
But failing that, I’ll manage with some strains from one blue songstress.

Ahead of my first stab at scooping out these peas to compost,
I spot Barilla butterflies – it seems the peas had co-hosts!
Who knew pasta e ceci could produce a form so nasty?
I ‘spose all bodies shrivel, sans the right cosmetic –plasty.

My mind turns back to Joni, to my ever-dwindling youth,
spent in
lockdown, when I wish to wear it in the world. (Uncouth?)
Belonging to the living
does indeed mean growing old,
A gift – at least in times when life stinks less of chickpea mold.

The real deal.  Courtesy of the author/chef.


“Lady Tramp” Mary Gray is a writer, journalist, and contributing editor + head of growth for Perdigiornale.