poetry Nuestra Nueva Casa
Nuestra Nueva Casa
By Philip C. Kolin
Corona is a cruel landlord taking over people's bodies,
cancelling their lease on life and throwing them out
of their hovels and apartments, as many as
40 million this year. How can they pay back
rent when they have no jobs. Corona profiteers
hide their eyes and close their hearts and hands
as the least of these, many Latin strangers in
a strange land, become street people overnight.
Portfolioers like death-grip Mitch advise the evicted
to declare bankruptcy, the easiest way to go.
It begins with a knock, a summons, and ends with a padlock.
All their belongings packed in black plastic bags
for the trip to the curb. But how can you put sheets
over the pavement or where can you hang
clothes or curtains. Will the post office deliver
to an address that has no address.
Their only furniture a donated empty
box used to ship a refrigerator;
passers-by glibly say these outcasts should
be grateful that America has donated the air
fouled corona air, too, they can't get with such abundance
in their own country. Some wait outside funeral parlors
for a vacancy, or sneak into a post office
to bring back some heat in a blanket
to a child or a wife too sick to walk.
The street becomes their hospital, too.
Ambulances rushing by the only medical
care they will get all night.
Other desalojos crowd into a friend's already
crowded apt. setting up households in a hallway
or sharing a bedroom with four generations,
the best housing arrangement for Corona
to spread. Shelters, too, are welcoming centers
for Corona tenants packed face to face, coughs
and sneezes in lieu of rent. Corona quips
it never evicts anyone. Everyone's lungs are welcome.
Philip C. Kolin is the Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus) and Editor Emeritus of the Southern Quarterly at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has published more than 40 books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, African American playwrights as well as ten collections of poems. His most recent books are Reaching Forever: Poems in the Poiema Series of Cascade Books and, forthcoming from Main Street Rag, Delta Tears.