In the slipstream

Judy Melchiorre is a poet who resides in Richmond VA. She is a member of River City Poets, James River Writers, Poetry Society of Virginia, and Poetry Society of New York. Judy’s work appears in Streetlight Magazine, Poetry Quarterly, and two anthologies. She also is the co-editor of the River City Poets Anthology, Lingering in the Margins, published in April 2019. She is sometimes a substitute teacher for high school students. She lives with her husband, two snuggly dogs and one sassy cat. 

Judy Melchiorre

In the slipstream of virus, like a fish netted,

        tossed on dock, gills quivering…

Newly-inked college diploma, verge

of Second Great Depression, death

stalks his Brooklyn neighborhood—

Close buddy on ventilator, pressing

hand to plexiglass, he mouths word, 

corners trembling.

Snaking through streets, others brush

past, six-feet aside, almost home—

he and Pop exchange elbow-bumps

for traditional handshake, 

dance with Mom, arms extended, 

fingertips close to touch.

He warns “be safe;”

they nod, “yes, son,” they promise.

His brows notch closer, questions 

chase doubts.

On the fly—

from clogs and cogs 

& hacking coughs,

cloth conceals yet

eyes reflect fear,

subway ghost-riders

echo Times Square,

smog-muck masks 



of unoiled ligaments

clatter    bang cross tracks

movement morphs into lullaby


A wider space

night-clotted sky,

waves of other ocean

breathe in his ears,

calm his juddering mind

right-coast neuroses

frenetic pace.

A new direction.

la paraluie*

Inside out,

the umbrella

captures plump

drops of rain,

collects them

like the change


in the devotion

box for votive


prayers to God,

from unlucky

gamblers, hoping

for protection

from the storm

*la parapluie, from the French, umbrella.